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Re: Armadillos/leprosy

Actually, it was probably a label applied to a number of skin diseases and other dermatologic conditions: anything that would produce sores and/ or skin disfigurement that persisted.
Aside from the initial (primary) lesion, and the diffuse rash of secondary syphilis, that disease doesn't really manifest dermatologically, though it was much more serious (i.e. deadly) in its first two stages some 500+ years ago (smallpox was called "small" because syphilis was considered the "great" pox). Speculation is that the causitive organism (Treponema pallidum) mutated back then to something with less severe initial symptoms, retaining its real whammy for the neurological effects of its third stage.
Probably more than you want to know....but I love trivia.
On Wednesday, November 17, 2004, at 04:22 PM, james singer wrote:

Syphilis comes to mind. What else?

On Wednesday, November 17, 2004, at 08:39 AM, Cathy Carpenter wrote:

And most of what was described in the Bible as leprosy was probably something else.
On Tuesday, November 16, 2004, at 11:08 PM, Judy L Browning wrote:

Leprosy is now called Hanson's disease in research, etc. There is treatment
to clear the bacteria from the body. I heard an interesting reference to it
a few days ago. Seems the rotting flesh, loss of body parts etc. associated
with the disease is not directly caused by the bacteria. Loss of pain
sensation from nerve damage is the real culprit. Without pain to let the
person know they have a cut or even a broken bone, the damaged area easily
becomes infected and that secondary infection is the cause of the terrible
disfiguring that caused such horror of the disease.
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Franzman" <dfranzma@pacbell.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 8:33 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] Armadillos/leprosy

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
now treatable and why don't we hear of it?

----- 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
the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, not a virus). Because the
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
for years in close proximity (ie. marriage) to people with the disease
have never "caught" it. The lowly nine banded armadillo should be
recipient of our gratitude rather than our prejudice...at least as far
health research is concerned.
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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