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Leprosy Bacillus Host : Armadillo

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The nine-banded armadillos which are common in American south (Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) are the only animal besides human that can host the leprosy bacillus. Today, about 20% of the armadillo population in the U.S. is believed to carry the leprosy bacillus. The risk of transmission to the humans is low.

The low body temperature of the animal (about 90 degrees) offers a suitable environment to the leprosy bacillus which prefers cool temperatures. Scientists believe that the transmission of leprosy bacillus occurred from humans to the armadillos about 400 to 500 years back. The animal itself doesn’t live long enough to suffer the disease symptoms.

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