Following reports of leprosy in Volusia County, Florida last month, an Alabama physician says one of his patients is the first known case of the bacterial disease in north Alabama, according to a report.

Alabama/National Atlas of the United States
Alabama/National Atlas of the United States

The Madison physician said his patient contracted the disease while outside the United States. According to Dr. Angelo Mancuso, his patient is north Alabama’s first known case of leprosy. The last reported cases were in south Alabama in 2012.

The patient has been referred to an infectious disease specialist and all appropriate health authorities, federal, state and local have been informed.

According to the National Hansen’s Disease Program (NHDP), Hansen’s disease, also known as 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.

Related: Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy) In Mississippi: Report

Compiled statistics reveal that Hansen’s disease (leprosy) is rare in the U.S. There are currently approximately 6,500 cases; about 3,300 require active medical management.

LISTEN: Leprosy and the burden women face