PRO/AH/EDR> Leprosy – USA: (FL) locally acquired, Central Florida landscaper, RFI


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

[1] Date: Mon 31 Jul 2023
Source: The Hill [edited]

Health officials say that cases of leprosy, also known as Hansen’s
disease, are surging in Central Florida.

In a research letter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) said that Central Florida has accounted for 81% of reported
cases in the state and almost 1/5 of reported cases nationwide

“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 reads. “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.”

Authorities said that several cases in Central Florida have
demonstrated no clear evidence of zoonotic exposure or traditionally
known risk factors. They also noted that they have reported a case of
lepromatous leprosy in the area in a male resident without risk
factors for known transmission routes.

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease primarily affecting a
patient’s skin and peripheral nervous system. It spreads through
extended close contact with a patient who is untreated.

The known symptoms of leprosy include discolored skin patches, thick
and dry skin, skin growths, the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes, muscle
weakness or paralysis and enlarged nerves, according to CBS News
Serious symptoms, if the disease is not treated, can develop into
blindness, ulcers on the bottom of the patient’s feet and paralysis
and crippling of hands and feet.

According to the World Health Organization, medical officials report
more than 200 000 cases of leprosy every year in more than 120
countries. The CDC states that about 150 people get infected with the
disease in the U.S. annually.

[Byline: Olafimihan Oshin]

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