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Re: Armadillos/leprosy


Leprosy was never very common in the US, and yes, there are now effective medicines, and once on treatment, there is absolutely no chance of contagion. In fact, the two "leper colonies" of the US (Molokai and the USPHS hospital in Carville, Louisiana) are no longer such, because the isolation once (wrongly) considered necessary is now definitely no longer needed. I visited the Kalapapa Peninsula on Molokai when I lived in the state in the 80s. Some people still live there because it is the only home they have ever known, but are free to come and go as they like, now. To visit, you have to be invited (arranged thru a travel agent) as it is their home - giving tours is a major source of their income. When the last of the residents dies, the entire peninsula will become a state park.
DH once diagnosed a case of leprosy. Patient presented with what he thought were hives, and thinking he was allergic to something, went to the allergist (DH). But they did not look "right" and the history was not consistent with allergy, and on further questioning, he suspected leprosy, referred to the Dermatologist - and it was!
Cathy
On Tuesday, November 16, 2004, at 10:33 PM, David Franzman wrote:


Thanks for that clarification Cathy but it leads me to another question about leprosy. We know of the leper colonies of Hawaii...I think it was Molokai...but we never hear of the disease anymore at least I don't. Is it now treatable and why don't we hear of it?

DF
----- Original Message ----- From: "Cathy Carpenter" <cathy.c@insightbb.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 3:13 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] Armadillos



Just had to set the record straight on armadillos and leprosy. Yes, armadillos, because of their low body temperature, have been used to culture Mycobacterium leprae (Leprosy is caused by a bacterium, related to the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, not a virus). Because the bacterium has not been able to be grown in artificial culture, the sole source of the germ for study has been the nine banded armadillo (and mice). Yes there has been a lot of "buzz" on the possible transmission of the bacterium from the armadillo to humans, but to my knowledge, the only documented transmission has been related to oral consumption of undercooked armadillo meat. Leprosy, despite its horrendous biblical reputation (most of which was not related to the disease), is very difficult to contract. There is documented evidence that people have lived for years in close proximity (ie. marriage) to people with the disease and have never "caught" it. The lowly nine banded armadillo should be recipient of our gratitude rather than our prejudice...at least as far as health research is concerned.
Cathy
On Tuesday, November 16, 2004, at 09:35 AM, Jesse Bell wrote:


I truly do not like armadillos. Did you know they carry the leprosy
virus? And they do jump...and squeak...and they don't see well at night
(that's why you see so many dead ones on the road). When I chased one
with a broom (in New Orleans) and yelled at it...it jumped up and came
running after me. I screamed and ran. Ick. Hate 'em. The short one is
braver than me..that's for sure.

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