Researchers find that Mycobacterium leprae, the pathogen that causes leprosy, otherwise known as Hansen’s Disease, is not as contagious as most people believe. It doesn’t grow well at all in cell cultures, or in nearly any nonhuman animal. The singular exception is the nine-banded armadillo, which the microbe favors even more than people.
“Armadillos are now a reservoir for the disease, and in coastal marsh habitats where population densities of the animal can be high, 20 percent or more of the armadillos are thought to be infected with M. leprae and capable of passing it on to susceptible people. Of the 200 cases of leprosy diagnosed annually in the United States, most are thought to stem from contact with armadillos, although the precise route of transmission remains unclear.”
“Today, Hansen’s is classified as a rare disease, yet it still strikes some 200,000 people a year, most of them in Brazil, India and other developing nations.” – For complete article published in The New York Times – Science see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/science/leprosy-still-claiming-victims.html?emc=edit_tnt_20140630&nlid=57949252&tntemail0=y
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever:
Mexico 0/30/14 Baja California: by Robert Herriman – The Department of Epidemiology at the Secretariat of Health in Mexicali, Baja California state, Mexico are reporting 11 fatalities from the tick borne disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), during the first six months of 2014, according to a Uniradio Informa report (computer translated). In fact, since 2009, health officials report 72 deaths due to the lethal rickettsial bacterium. Specifically the report notes, in 2009, 9 people were killed. By 2010 the figure reached nearly 12 deaths; there were 8 in 2011, 15 in 2012, and up to 15 Nov 2013 there were 17 deaths, which, added to the registered in 2014, reach 72 people who were killed by the disease spread by a tick bite. Last week, Imperial County (CA-USA) health officials reported the first case/death from RMSF. (See “ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER kills CALIFORNIA” posted on this blog 06/27/14.)
RMSF is a tick borne disease caused by the organism, Rickettsia rickettsii. Typically, the progress of the disease is a sudden onset of high fever, deep muscle pain, severe headache and chills. A rash usually appears on the extremities within 5 days then soon spreads to palms and soles and then rapidly to the trunk. Fatalities can be seen in greater than 20% of untreated cases. Death is uncommon with prompt recognition and treatment. Still approximately 3-5% of cases seen in the U.S. are fatal. The absence or delayed appearance of the typical rash or the failure to recognize it, especially in dark-skinned people cause a delay in diagnosis and increased fatalities. Early stages of RMSF can be confused with erlichiosis, meningococcal meningitis and enteroviral infection. – For complete article see http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/mexicali-reports-nearly-a-dozen-rocky-mountain-spotted-fever-deaths-this-year-17381/
West Nile Virus (WNV):
South Dakota 06/27/14 Hughes County: Officials have confirmed the state’s first human case of WNV reported this year. – See http://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=16357