March 15, 2015

Are Armadillos Carriers of the Leprosy Bacteria?

Yard Gard

If you are a resident in any of the southern states which are noted for their southern hospitality you most likely have a neighbor that is not welcome in the community, and that neighbor is the pesky armadillo. Besides being a destroyer of lawns and gardens; recently there were two different news stories on TV in the Daytona Beach, Florida area concerning armadillos and leprosy. It was reported that two different individuals in the area tested positive for leprosy. It seems that both individuals had been in contact with armadillos and it is a known fact that the armadillo can be a carrier of the bacillus bacteria that causes leprosy in the armadillo.

What makes the armadillo a carrier of the leprosy bacteria is the fact that the armadillo’s body temperature is lower than most other animals and this low body temperature makes for a good breeding ground for the leprosy bacteria in the armadillo. Therefore, this low body temperature of the armadillo is one of the primary reason the armadillo can be a carrier of the leprosy bacteria. The leprosy bacteria that affects humans also affects the parts of the human body that have a lower body temperature such as the fingers, toes, nose and ears. The leprosy bacteria thrives best in a host with a lower body temperature.

Several agencies have conducted studies to determine if armadillos can indeed infect humans with the leprosy bacteria. Quoting from an article published on April 27, 2011 in the New York Times, Health section, titled, “Armadillos Can Transmit Leprosy to Humans, Federal Researchers Confirm” by Gardiner Harris. Harris reported, “Using genetic sequencing machines, researchers were able to confirm that about a third of the leprosy cases that arise each year in the United States almost certainly result from contact with infected armadillos.” Other researchers indicate that there may be a variety of vectors for transmitting this bacteria and that the risk is small for crossover between animals and humans, but they say, “avoid contact with the animals”.

In Biblical times, leprosy was a death sentence; there were no know cures other than an act of God. (2 Kings 5:1-14 and Matthew 8:3).

Today, medical science has developed an antibiotic cocktail of three different antibiotics that seems to work well against the leprosy bacteria, therefore leprosy can be treated fairly successful today.

With this said and also knowing that armadillos are burrowing animals, many people are rightly concerned when an armadillo destroys their lawn or digs a burrow under their house or patio or air conditioning slab. Their concern is not only for health reasons, but also for the potential structural damage the armadillo’s burrow can cause by weakening the foundations to their houses and patios.

If an armadillo does burrow under your house, check out this web site. These Yard Gard products can help in evicting the critter from their burrows and even prevent them from entering your yard to do their destructive deeds.

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March 15, 2015


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