Leprosy could be now endemic in Florida A study suggests

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Leprosy cases reported have nearly doubled in the southeastern states of the past decade according to a brand new research study.

Leprosy could be now endemic in Florida A study suggests

Leprosy cases have increased in Florida and in the south-central United States over the last decade, as per the latest study.

Leprosy, more commonly known as Hansen’s Disease, is very rare kind of bacterial infection that affects nerves and can cause skin swelling. The latest research paper, that was published by the National Centers of Disease Control’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal discovered that cases reported have doubled in the Southeast in the past 10 years.

Central Florida in particular has been the site of a large proportion of cases, suggesting that it could be an endemic area for the disease. This means that the disease is present in a constant manner within the population of the area rather than manifesting as isolated cases.

“According according to National Hansen’s Disease Program, there were 159 new cases reported within the United States in 2020; Florida was among the top states to report,” the report said. “Central Florida, in particular was responsible for 81 percent of cases reported to Florida and more than a fifth of all cases reported nationally.”

While leprosy is a disease that can be transmitted from between people but it’s unclear what causes it. It isn’t spread by casual contact, such as touching hands or seated next to someone on a bus, as per the CDC. Instead, the currently believed that the bacteria spreads through drops of fluid from the cough of an affected person or sneezes over a long period of contact.

The contact with armadillos, a few of which are infected by bacteria that cause leprosy, could be a different way for people to be ill.

The latest report identified a specific case of leprosy in Florida A landscaper aged 54 who had not been in contacts with leprosy-infected people or animals and was not a traveler to any country where the disease is more prevalently found.

There were more than 15 leprosy cases reported in Florida in the past year. with the majority of them located in Brevard County, according to NBC affiliate WESH.

Doctor. Nicole Iovine, chief hospital epidemiologist as well as an infectious disease doctor from the University of Florida, told WESH that leprosy may appear as a rash, with visible, scaly skin lesions. One may also experience visible nodules on the face or hands.

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