The number of leprosy cases reported in Florida in 2015 from January to early July has equaled the total cases seen during the entire 2014, according to Florida health data.

Florida map/National Atlas of the United States
Florida map/National Atlas of the United States

The 10th case of the year has been reported in a resident of North Fort Myers in Lee County. 10 cases were reported all of last year.

In addition to the newest case from Lee County, Brevard County has reported three, with Volusia reporting two and Flagler, Indian River, Lake and Polk counties all seeing one a piece.

Previous cases seen this year have been linked to exposure to armadillos. It is not clear about the most recent case.

Some key facts from the World Health Organization about leprosy include:

  • Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by a slow multiplying bacillus,Mycobacterium leprae.
  • M. leprae multiplies slowly and the incubation period of the disease is about 5 years.Symptoms can take as long as 20 years to appear.
  • The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and also the eyes.
  • Leprosy is curable.
  • Although not highly infectious, it is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment with multidrug therapy (MDT) remain key in eliminating the diseaseas a public health concern
  • Untreated, leprosy can cause progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.
  • Official figures from 115 countries show the global registered prevalence of leprosy at 189,018 at the end of 2012 and during the same year, 232,857 new cases were reported.