After reporting more than two dozens leprosy, or Hansen’s disease cases in 2015, the state has seen a decrease in cases in the subsequent three years. In 2016, 18 cases were reported and in 2017, 16 cases were seen.
The number of confirmed cases in 2018 turned out to be 11. The majority of the cases were reported in Brevard (8), while Highlands , Orange and Osceola each reported one.
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.
World Leprosy Day 2019: ‘Ending discrimination, stigma and prejudice’
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.
Research in the journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases shows that the nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus), animals that naturally carry the leprosy bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae and have been linked to zoonotic infections, have spread their geography to affect more areas of the southeastern United States.
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