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RE: Armadillos

Thanks, Cathy.  It is always good to work with facts.

Bonnie (SW OH - zone 5)

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On Behalf
Of Cathy Carpenter
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 6:13 PM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
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.
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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