Another disease is spreading in the United States. Leprosy cases are on the rise in Florida, and the “experts” warn the illness could become endemic to the area.
A high concentration of cases of leprosy was reported in central Florida. In a recently published research letter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that Florida is witnessing an increase in leprosy cases lacking traditional risk factors and recommending that travel to Florida be considered when conducting leprosy contact tracing in any state.
The number of reported leprosy cases across the country has doubled over the past decade, according to the CDC. Citing data from the National Hansen’s Disease Program, the CDC says there were 159 new cases reported in the U.S. in 2020. Nearly 70% of these new cases were reported in Florida, California, Louisiana, Hawaii, New York and Texas. -USA Today
Leprosy, which is scientifically known as Hansen’s disease, has never been common in the U.S. Most cases previously involved people who immigrated from leprosy-endemic areas. But the new report shows that about 34% of the reported cases between 2015 and 2020 were locally acquired.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leprosy is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. It can affect the nerves, skin, eyes, and lining of the nose (nasal mucosa). With early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be cured. People infected with leprosy disease can continue to work and lead an active life during and after treatment.
It does not spread easily. It requires prolonged, close contact with someone with untreated leprosy over many months is needed to catch the disease. Humans cannot get leprosy from casual contact with a person who has the disease. Casual contact is considered shaking hands or hugging, sitting next to each other on the bus, or sitting together at a meal