Hansen’s disease, often known as leprosy, has spread across the southern United States, with 20 percent of all cases found in Central Florida.
Florida is responsible for 81% of the biblical-era sickness in the US.
A 54-year-old gardener visited an Orlando dermatology clinic with a mysterious rash that started on his arms and legs and progressed to his face. Nathoo’s diagnosis of leprosy, which he said was something “you read in your textbooks,” was confirmed by the biopsy findings. The individual, however, lacked the typical risk factors associated with the rare virus. Nathoo and his colleagues have seen a cluster of similar instances in the region, so they are warning other doctors to be on the lookout for anything suspicious.
According to the World Health Organization, there are around 200,000 new cases of leprosy each year across the globe, with Central Florida having one of the highest rates in the United States (with 159 instances recorded countrywide in 2020).
Although the exact transmission mechanism is unknown, it is widely accepted that contaminated droplets are disseminated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Because of the involvement of nerves, the lesions and rashes characteristic of this condition are characterized by a loss of feeling.
Casual contact, such as shaking hands or sitting close to an infected individual, does not spread the illness. Instead, an intimate connection with an untreated leprosy patient for months is required for the disease to apply, as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Most of the population (about 95%) is immune to the illness since they were born that way.
While leprosy is growing in the area, experts believe this should not trigger a public health emergency. The National Hansen’s Disease Program reported 159 new cases in the United States in 2020, double the number of instances documented over the last decade, according to research released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 70% of the new cases were recorded in only six states: Florida, California, Louisiana, Hawaii, New York, and Texas.
It’s important to note that leprosy has been known to be carried by armadillos.