Usually Florida sees an average of 10 cases of leprosy per year. But slightly more than halfway through 2015, the state already has nine cases, according to the latest reports from Florida counties. The cause of this outbreak? Fingers are being pointed at armadillos, although the source of the outbreak remains officially unclear.
Florida’s Brevard County leads the state with three cases reported this year, followed by Volusia County with two cases and Flager, Indian River, Lake and Polk Counties reporting one each, Outbreak News Today reported. The United States sees anywhere to 150 to 250 cases of the disease annually, and Florida averages fewer than 10 cases per year.
Leprosy, a disease frequently discussed in the Bible, is formally known as Hansen’s disease. It’s caused by a long-term bacterial infection, and though it was once viewed as a highly contagious disease that led to social isolation, today it is considered rare and easy to treat, according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s passed from person to person through bacteria, Mycobacterium leprae, that carry Hansen’s disease, which can be carried on droplets from sneezes or coughs as well as other bodily secretions.
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