Only PERIPHERALLY related, but someone this weekend told me that Armadillos carry leprosy. As a Texan who likes going to chili cookoffs, I must admit I've sampled Armadillo chili before. I guess I won't be doing that again.
That's interesting info, thanks. I Googled this after reading your post:
Carville Researcher Questions Armadillo-Leprosy Findings
The role of the lowly armadillo in leprosy research began in 1971 when Carville researchers found that some armadillos are susceptible to leprosy and can become a good source of leprosy bacilli (called Mycobacterium leprae) for research. The relatively low body temperature of the armadillo is conducive to the growth of M. leprae.
This discovery was considered a scientific breakthrough because M. leprae as yet has not been cultured In the laboratory for study.
GSRI, which lives on research grants, offered no evidence of the source of the armadillo infection and said further studies were needed. Dr. W. M. Meyers of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington subsequently supported the GSRI claim, but his report was based on samples supplied to him by GSRI, and not on armadillos caught independently.
In explanation of the alleged natural leprosy, Meyers said the infection was most likely transmitted to the armadillos in Louisiana from human cases of leprosy. However, no new cases of human leprosy have been reported from 1967 to 1976 in the Acadiana district where GSRI allegedly found the disease in armadillos, Kirchheimer says.
Meyer's report also does not account for the fact that practically all leprosy patients in the United States are being treated, he says. (Besides, modern treatment renders patients non-infectious within a short time.)
"How did the armadillos get leprosy when there was no human leprosy around from which the armadillos could contract it," he remarks.
Armadillos are often, caught for experimental use on the grounds of the hospital where leprosy patients walk every day, he adds. However, leprosy has not been found in any of these armadillos. he says.
Last month the GSRI theory was rehashed with a new twist. A warning was issued to state residents with a fancy for armadillo meat that the animals may carry leprosy. The statement came from Dr. William Cherry, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
(Kirchheimer's advice: "It you catch a lepromatous armadillo and cook it, go ahead and eat it. It is no more harmful than cooking pork to get rid of trichinosis.")