27th April 2011
Each year only about 150 people in the U.S. are infected with leprosy, a bacterial disease that can lead to nerve damage and disfigurement. In most cases, people are infected after being exposed to saliva from an infected person, usually while traveling to parts of the world, such as Africa and Asia, where the disease is more prevalent.
Of the 50 patients and 33 wild armadillos the researchers analyzed from the U.S., 25 patients and 28 armadillos shared a genetically identical strain of leprosy bacteria. And at least 8 of the 25 patients carrying the strain reported contact with armadillos.
Let that be a lesson to us all.