Do Armadillos Carry Leprosy?

Yes. Can they spread leprosy to humans? Yes and no. Leprosy, known to doctors and medical professionals as Hansen's Disease is an infection that can present symptoms in as little as 5 years, and stay dormant as long as 20 years. It develops what are called granulomas on the nerves, in the respiratory tract, on the skin, and in the eyes. It is spread between people and can manifest from contact with nasal fluid, coughing, or passed from skin to skin. Armadillos carry leprosy and can transmit this disease in several ways.

leprosy virus
Leprosy from armadillos

How Do Armadillos Transmit Leprosy?

Merely by handling the animal, you can contract leprosy. Extra care should be taken when dealing armadillos to prevent contact with the skin from their armor or their feces. Although that now leprosy is highly treatable and 95% of the population may be completely unsusceptible to the disease, it still poses a risk for many in the united states. To date, around 150-200 Americans have leprosy.

Eating the armadillo can cause leprosy, too. Many trappers are hunters are not shy about eating this animal, however, and based on the previous statistics I provided before, you can see why. In any case, keep yourself safe and try not to handle or eat armadillo. Honestly, whatever it is that they use for burgers at your local fast food joint is probably safer to eat.

How Did Armadillos Get Leprosy?

Modern science says it was humans. While I can't imagine an armadillo eating a human, the giant armadillo would probably be capable of this if it wasn't a practicing insectivore. How and why armadillos have come to incubate this horrible human disease is beyond the scope of this article, and may not be suitable for some viewers. It's best that certain myseteries remain mysteries to us.

Avoiding Armadillo Leprosy

Eat something else, touch something else, and by all means, be careful trapping these creatures. They're not likely to mount a single-fronted attack on you that could physically hurt you, but like any animal with the potential to transmit infectious disease, you should wear full pretective gear before trapping or handline this creature.

Further Reading