Leprosy cases double in US, armadillos become major cause of exposure

Leprosy cases in the Florida are rising
Leprosy cases in the Florida are rising. Credit | Getty images

United States: America’s Leprosy cases are high, and unfortunately, Florida is leading the pack, and that is according to the health workers as they allegedly made their concerns known.

Based on World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, the disease, with an annual incidence of over 200,000, arises in more than 120 countries worldwide every year. The only clear version of a perpetrator of Leporis is the armadillo.

The number of cases in America is on the rise.

The surprising rise in leprosy cases in the United States has been observed in the previous decade by health experts. The range is observed in individuals who have contact not only with armadillos but also those who have not.

Last year’s report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that in 2020, there were at least 159 new cases of Leprosy in the US, among which more than a fifth were diagnosed in Florida.

Out of the Florida cases, 81 percent were detected in Central Florida.

SE cases have increased up to almost two times in the last decade, as the report says.

Francisca Mutapi, a professor in Global Health Infection and Immunity and co-director of the Global Health Academy at the University of Edinburgh, said, “Florida reported 10 cases of leprosy every year between 2002 and 2014. This rose to 29 new cases in 2015. There were 15 new cases in 2023,” as Newsweek reported.

She added furthermore, “Global case detection rates dropped between 2019 and 2020, but this has been rising since then. The WHO attributes part of the decline in case detection rates to the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on health services.”

The number of new cases post-2019 is growing, but reported cases to date are still lower than those reported in 2019 (202,166 new cases) compared to those detailed in the latest WHO report from 2022 (174,087 new cases),” she said.

Know more about Leprosy

As per the experts report, Leprosy, which is commonly known as Hansen’s disease, is caused by the obnoxious attack of bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis, and it has been infecting humans for periods of thousands of years.

The main areas affected are either the skin, mucous membranes of the upper airwayitis, or the peripheral nerves. Skin lesions, which may or may not be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin and also lose sensitivity, will be the obvious symptom.

Numbness or weakness in the hands and feet, as well as nerve damage, can also be symptoms. In severe cases, deformities or disabilities can result.

It can take 20 years for the symptoms to manifest. Deaths from the disease, on the other hand, are rare; however, complications can be present, especially when the disease is left untreated or treatment is delayed.

These complications may encompass secondary infections, nerve damage leading to impairments, and other health-related complications.

Mutapi added, “We currently do not know what is driving the reported increase of leprosy cases in Florida. Studies are currently underway to determine how infections are being transmitted, i.e., between humans vs infections from animals to humans. People may become infected from other people with untreated Leprosy or from the nine-banded armadillo, a natural host of the bacteria causing the disease,” as Newsweek reported.