UGA Extension – Jasper County Agricultural & Natural Resources

Georgia's Deer Capital

Leprosy Confirmed in FL

There have been three confirmed cases of leprosy in Volusia County Florida in the past five months. Two of the cases are attributed to contact with nine-banded armadillos. Leprsosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is caused by Mycobacterium lepra.

The disease is rare, and most humans are considered immune. It is transmitted by droplets from the nose and mouth.

Mycobacterium lepra divide slowly, taking up to twenty years for symptoms to present, directly affecting skin, peripheral nerves, respiratory system lining, and the eyes. Continuing it causes disfigurement.

Leprosy maintains a stronghold in underdeveloped countries.

According to the CDC, a hundred new cases are confirmed every year in the U.S., primarily in the southeast.

The biggest take aware here is to wash your hands be aware of what you are contacting, and the possible consequences.

*Photo courtesy of NDPetitt on morgueFile.

  • The outbreak of Leprosy in Volusia County Florida is alarming. There should be more awareness programmes on such diseases. Thanks for posting this, Trey .

    • Thanks for writing Anthony!

      The positive is this: we live in a fairly well educated and clean society. Knowledge of the bacteria that causes leprosy, as well as sanitation keep this from being a major concern currently in the southeast. Leprosy is important to be aware of, but I would not lose sleep over it.

      The major zoonotic pest that we really need to be focused on here currently is rabies. I say this because any mammal can become infected and transfer this disease. Meaning that our interactions with our mammal pets that are not vaccinated for rabies, can put us at risk.

      Take care!