New Strain of Leprosy

armadilloA recent article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes a new strain of leprosy that has been found in armadillos in the southeastern USA. They found leprosy in 106 animals (16% of those tested) and of those, 7 tested positive for a new genotype of the leprosy bacterium. When testing humans from the same area as part of the study, they found that out of 52 people infected with leprosy 22 were infected with the new strain. It has long been known that people can catch leprosy from the armadillo (although this is rare), and that armadillos are the only other natural carrier, but finding a new strain of leprosy is a new thing. One key concern is that armadillos may be able to infect other animals with the new strain, and therefore increase the number of ways that it could be transmitted to humans.

A link to the article (published on Bioscience Technology) is HERE