Nine cases of leprosy have been reported in Florida so far in 2015. Each case this year involved individuals who were in direct contact with armadillos.
The Department of Health stated that current number is almost close to Florida’s average 10 cases per year. Dr. Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society, stated that all cases in 2015 involved people who had contact with armadillos.
The Center for Disease Control reported that armadillos are the only animal that carry leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, which is a bacterial disease that affect the nerves and skin. Affected human skin becomes dryer and thicker and lesions and other abnormal growths will most likely develop. The risk is reportedly low, however. Leprosy can be spread through saliva but is curable with antibiotics. According to Dr. Joshi, the occurrence is very rare but people are encouraged to avoid armadillos to prevent contamination.