Perigo, Tatus Mortais!



Danger, deadly armadillos!

Brazil has the second highest number of new leprosy cases worldwide (India beat them out by a shockingly wide margin) with 35k diagnosed in 2016.

Some researchers collected armadillos around the state of Pará and 60% of them were positive for Mycobacterium leprae. They also tested people in 2 villages and 63% had antibodies against leprosy which suggests that they had been infected at some point. The percentage was even higher among people that hunt armadillos presumably from their higher rate of exposure to the armadillos. People who eat these armadillos are ingesting the bacteria with their chicken-like meals. Especially in the ceviche made with raw liver (where the bacteria concentrates). That’s what we get for giving armadillos leprosy in the first place. Colonizers brought it over on their ships from Europe. Super cool.

For those that don’t partake of the armadillo, you can’t even avoid the bacteria because it lives in the mucous membrane in human’s noses and can be sneezed all over the place. It can also take years to even show symptoms of leprosy. AND IT’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU! Most likely, you’ll be fine since 95% of humans are immune to leprosy.