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Armadillos May Be Spreading Leprosy In The U.S. South

Up to 20 percent of U.S. armadillos are infected with leprosy — and now a new study has found that these quirky little creatures may be transmitting the infectious disease directly to humans.The findings — out today in the New England Jour…

Up to 20 percent of U.S. armadillos are infected with leprosy — and now a new study has found that these quirky little creatures may be transmitting the infectious disease directly to humans.

The findings — out today in the New England Journal of Medicine — say that wild armadillos and human patients in the Southern United States often share the same strain of leprosy, leading the researchers to conclude that it may be a regional zoonosis, or a disease that can be passed from animal to human.

“A preponderance of evidence shows that people get leprosy from these animals,” lead author Richard W. Truman, director of microbiology at the National Hansen’s Disease Program in Baton Rouge, told the Los Angeles Times.

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