A genetic study at the National Hansen’s Disease Program reports that armadillos may be a source of infection in the southern United States. The Program advises:
Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy, is a chronic bacterial disease that primarily affects the skin, peripheral nerves and upper airway. Feared as a highly contagious and devastating disease, it is well established that Hansen's disease (leprosy) is not highly transmissible, is very treatable, and, with early diagnosis and treatment, is not disabling.
Compiled statistics reveal that Hansen's disease (leprosy) is rare in the U.S. There are currently approximately 6,500 cases; about 3,300 require active medical management.
People with Hansen's disease (leprosy) can generally continue their normal work and other activities uninterrupted while they are under treatment, which may last several years.
Yet Hansen's disease (leprosy) remains the most misunderstood human infectious disease. The stigma long associated with the disease still exists in most of the world and the psychological and social effects may be more difficult to deal with than the actual physical illness.
The National Hansen's Disease Program is the epicenter of Hansen's disease (leprosy) care, research and information in the U.S.
The U.S. Government established the predecessor of the National Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) Program, the National Leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, in 1917. Outpatient clinics were established in 1981.
National Hansen's Disease Programs
1770 Physicians Park Drive
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70816
Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
Leprosy (National Institutes of Health)
Leprosy Elimination/Leprosy Today (World Health Organization)
The STAR, a publication educating the public on Hansen's Disease