A horrifying ancient disease is making a comeback across America. But perhaps the most shocking part about the sudden onset of this life-threatening disease is how it’s spreading.
Leprosy been around since ancient times and was at one point incurable. Also known as Hansen’s disease, leprosy is an infectious disease that causes severe, disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms and legs.
Leprosy has long been dismissed as an extinct disease, but according to the CDC, 1-2 million people worldwide are infected. Now, doctors are finding that threat of leprosy still exists in America today, and it can be dangerous if ignored.
Researchers are warning that there is an uptick of leprosy cases in the United States. The Health Resources and Services Administration reported that there are currently about 6,500 cases of leprosy in the U.S. In the worst cases, fingers and toes are lost and victims are left blind.
The CDC is calling it “an emerging infectious disease.” Leprosy can be spread through respiratory droplets from someone with untreated leprosy– and children are more likely to get leprosy than adults.
However, a recent study has found that humans aren’t the only carriers of this ancient disease. A study on armadillos discovered that the armored mammals are the only non-human creatures that can carry the bacteria that cause leprosy.
The study, conducted by Dr Richard W. Truman and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that almost half of people with leprosy in the southeastern US — especially in Texas and Florida — were linked armadillos.
Dr Truman stated, “Leprosy has been feared throughout human history, and there are still regions in several countries, including in the southern United States, where new cases of this disease continue to occur.”
Watch the news report below for more information:
The CDC warns, “For general health reasons, avoid contact with armadillos whenever possible. If you had a contact with an armadillo and are worried about getting Hansen’s disease, talk to your healthcare provider. Your doctor will follow up with you over time and perform periodic skin examinations to see if you develop the disease… In the event that you have Hansen’s disease, your doctor can help you get treatment.”
Please help raise awareness of this dangerous disease and avoid contact with armadillos at all costs! If you suspect that you may be infected, please contact your health provider immediately– early detection could save your life!