Source: Tampa Bay Times 

In Gainesville, veterinarian Juan Campos Krauer of the University of Florida examines a dead armadillo for signs of infection, suspecting it may carry leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease. Florida has seen a rise in leprosy cases, particularly in Brevard County, which accounted for 13% of the U.S. cases in 2020. Leprosy, though rare and not highly contagious, can cause severe nerve damage if untreated.

Scientists, including Campos Krauer, are investigating the disease’s transmission, hypothesizing that armadillos and soil contamination might play roles. Researchers from various universities are collaborating to understand the phenomenon better. The public is advised to take precautions when handling soil or armadillos. Despite the increased cases, most of the global population has a natural immunity to leprosy, and the disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

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