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CDC Issues Alert as Leprosy Cases Surge in Florida

CDC Issues Alert as Leprosy Cases Surge in Florida

In 2015, experts blamed armadillos for higher than normal leprosy cases in the state.

Back in 2019, I wrote about the “biblical disease” known as leprosy, as cases were being reported in the Los Angeles area.

Dr. Ochoa and colleagues identified 187 patients with the disease in a review of medical records from their leprosy clinic spanning 1973 to 2018. Most patients were Latino, originating from Mexico, and they experienced a median delay in diagnosis of more than three years, the team reports JAMA Dermatology, online August 7.

Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that the number of leprosy cases has increased dramatically in Florida, and health experts fear the infectious disease is now endemic to the Sunshine State.

Central Florida accounts for nearly one-fifth of all cases in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and for 81% of the cases reported in Florida.

Also known as Hansen’s disease, leprosy is usually spread during lengthy person-to-person contact through airborne droplets from the nose and mouth of an infected person.

Historically, leprosy has been uncommon in the US, and most cases have come from people who immigrated from countries where the disease is more common.

But since 2000, cases of leprosy have gradually increased, and have more than doubled over the past decade.

The CDC indicates that Central Florida accounted for 81% of cases reported in Florida. The last time a surge was noted, armadillos were blamed.

“Leprosy has been historically uncommon in the United States; incidence peaked around 1983, and a drastic reduction in the annual number of documented cases occurred from the 1980s through 2000,” the letter’s authors wrote. “However, since then, reports demonstrate a gradual increase in the incidence of leprosy in the United States. The number of reported cases has more than doubled in the southeastern states over the last decade.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Florida make headlines for leprosy cases. In 2015, experts blamed armadillos for higher than normal leprosy cases in the state.

As it appears that Americans will be dealing with another endemic disease, it’s perhaps worthwhile to refresh our understanding of leprosy.

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae that primarily affects the skin and peripheral nervous system. It can sometimes infect other parts of the body like the lining in the airway passages of the nose, according to the Florida Department of Health. It has been around for thousands of years, with the earliest known records appearing in China and India around 600 B.C.

Despite its biblical description, the disease is not easily spread and about 95% of people have natural protective immunity, according to the FDOH. Leprosy can be easy to treat, especially if it’s addressed early. However, going without treatment can result in permanent nerve damage.

The Mycobacterium leprae bacteria is slow growing and it can often take years for signs and symptoms to develop following exposure to the bacteria. Once the first sign of infection appears, it can take anywhere between two weeks to months for it to progress.

Florida is not the only state with leprosy cases.

The CDC letter cites research from the National Hansen’s Disease Program that lists these as the states that had the most new leprosy cases in 2020:

  • Florida
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Hawaii
  • New York
  • Texas

The list of states was based on data from 2020 which is the most recent year for which data is available.

The CDC states that about 150 people get infected with the disease in the U.S. annually.   There was a recent case in Texas in which a man in his 20s sought treatment for a rash, which turned out to be leprosy.

Initial tests could not show what was wrong with him when he went to a dermatologist, after suffering numbness and tingling in the patches on his skin for three months.

But after sending a sample of his skin to a specialist laboratory, results showed he had leprosy.

…He was heavily tattooed and moved to the US from Samoa — where leprosy is still endemic — four years before he was diagnosed.

Medics put him on a course of antibiotics recommended by the WHO for treating leprosy and his symptoms improved after two months.

He had surgery on his tendons and occupational therapy to help return movement to his hand and was still undergoing antibiotics after a year.

Leftists are quick to blame Gov. Ron DeSantis

I conclude by pointing out that while wasting time, energy, resources, and billions of tax dollars on covid response, the CDC has neither controlled nor prevented this ancient plague from returning. Perhaps that is where the response effort should have been? Why should this agency continue to exist, if it continually fails at its mission?

Perhaps we should be grateful that they aren’t blaming armadillos again.


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2smartforlibs | August 1, 2023 at 5:12 pm

This happens every 2 years when the left wins or it is thought to win. The disease may change but there have been many.

Is it me, or are the states with the newest cases ones with high rates of illegal alien incursions? It’s not like they are vetting or otherwise medically clearing them.

Open boarders bring their best diseases for us

But orange man bad…

I’m still dealing with my second round of Covid
Can’t wait to get all the diseases the globalist have in store for us

    henrybowman in reply to gonzotx. | August 2, 2023 at 5:10 am

    You know what aged extremely well?
    This video where Alex Jones describes the coming “slow-kill plandemic,” right down to the virus planned to be used (flu/coronavirus).
    Eerily prescient, and filmed in 2009.

    amwick in reply to gonzotx. | August 2, 2023 at 6:28 am

    So sorry to hear that. We are visiting friends in Gettysburg, and their neighbor tested positive Monday. Hubby and I have dodged that bullet… maybe because we were “sick” in December, 2019… Long story. The thing with immigration scares me. Goblins pass through open borders, on the backs of these illegal aliens..

    JohnSmith100 in reply to gonzotx. | August 2, 2023 at 11:48 pm

    How about leper like colonies for Dem criminals. Maybe in the middle of a desert? It seems that their conduct merits a very harsh response.

Leprosy, cholera, chicken pox, mumps, measles…gee I wonder where it is all coming from

I’m okay with the idea (borrowing from Leviticus 13:45-46) of crying out, “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN!,” whenever they spot a Democrat politician.

Th open borders crowd loves to invoke Ellis Island. How about a return to screening and quarantine based on modern science to go along with it? Oh wait, that would invoke common sense and d/prog are in charge.

ahad haamoratsim | August 2, 2023 at 12:26 am

The Biblical disease (tzaarat in Hebrew) is not leprosy. The symptoms are completely different. It was mistranslated as leprosy because that was a disease the translators were familiar with. Tzaarat is a spiritual malady with physical symptoms and is not found today.

    henrybowman in reply to ahad haamoratsim. | August 2, 2023 at 5:06 am

    Are you sure it isn’t?
    It sounds a lot like transgenderism.

      ahad haamoratsim in reply to henrybowman. | August 2, 2023 at 9:48 am

      Yes I am sure they are not the same disease. For more information you might consult the commentary of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. I know of nothing to support the thesis that they are the same disease other than fear & prejudice towards victims of leprosy.

      Gov. Wallace’s novel Ben Hur did assume they are the same. Novels written by Christians about Jews frequently err in details about Jewish beliefs & practices.

      ahad haamoratsim in reply to henrybowman. | August 2, 2023 at 9:49 am

      You lost me with transgenderism. What on earth are you talking about?

    Ty,,, interesting…

    DaveGinOly in reply to ahad haamoratsim. | August 2, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    “Spiritual malady”? Known today as a mental health problem.

“Perhaps we should be grateful that they aren’t blaming armadillos again.”

Can the Black Death be long in reappearing?

    LibraryGryffon in reply to henrybowman. | August 2, 2023 at 6:07 am

    Well, it’s been endemic in the SouthWest for decades. So we just need more people living in close proximity to large numbers of flea ridden varmints….

I keep seeing the word “surge” from the headline in this article to various points within, yet no actual number for the recent cases diagnosed. Are there 10, 1, 100 or 2?
Why is that? Or is this just more fear-mongering?

    DaveGinOly in reply to DelightLaw1. | August 2, 2023 at 12:29 pm

    “Surge,” and similar descriptions, are usually the result of a misunderstanding, or willful distortion, of the math. If there are two cases a year for decades, and suddenly there are six, that gets reported (correctly) as “cases tripled this year.” So did they “surge”? They certainly did. But without knowing the baseline, “surge” may or may not give an appropriate impression of the actual problem.

Suburban Farm Guy | August 2, 2023 at 7:25 am

A small price to pay for the infinite wonders of DIEversity


Florida gets one fifth of all cases in the US!!

So that’s………..30 cases. Out of 23 million people.

Since when did ‘endemic’ also mean exceedingly rare?

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to Azathoth. | August 2, 2023 at 9:51 am

    Since there is a Republican governor to bash. Since when is teaching about slavery banning teaching about slavery. Since when is keeping sexually oriented materials out of kindergarten & primary grade classrooms the same as criminalizing use of the word gay?

Armadillos, a known carrier of leprosy, now occur throughout most of the state and are considered naturalized, meaning they arrived in .

Capitalist-Dad | August 2, 2023 at 9:39 am

Just one of the “benefits” of Democrat open borders—illegal immigrants importing diseases that were long ago conquered or that never occurred here: malaria, dengue, leprosy, hepatitis A-E, tuberculosis (including a multi-drug resistant strain, and in 4% of the cases an extensively drug-resistant strain that is incurable), Chagas’ disease, HIV/AIDS, Schistosomiasis, Guinea Worm Infection, Whooping cough, Cysticercosis, Morgellon’s, and a host of others (CDC studies of illegal immigrat diseases).

These diseases and pathogens, and others that are not endemic to the US, are being brought in by illegal aliens who are unscreened for disease and then spread them to Americans and legal immigrants (who are screened for diseases before they can immigrate here). Open borders is rife with potential disaster beyond the obvious explosion in welfare costs and Democrat voting.