Humans gave leprosy to armadillos – now they are giving it back to us - Yahoo News
Feb 27, 2021 2 mins, 58 secs
The disease is growing in armadillos.

Leprosy, also called Hansen’s disease, is caused by infection by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, causing skin lesions, nerve damage, disfigurement and disability, leading to social stigmatization common to people with this disease.

Typically, infection requires living in close contact with an untreated infected individual.

Shortly after this, she and her team discovered that armadillos living in the wild in Texas and Louisiana were naturally infected by M.

Richard Truman from the National Hansen’s Disease Program in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, published a study showing that the strain infecting the majority of armadillos and native leprosy patients in Texas and Louisiana were identical, indicating that the disease was a zoonotic infection being transmitted to humans.

People living there frequently ate armadillos as a source of protein.

Many people think vaccines work like a shield, blocking a virus from infecting cells altogether.

But in most cases, a person who gets vaccinated is protected from disease, not necessarily infection.

These people could be completely protected from infection, or they could be getting infected but remain asymptomatic because their immune system eliminates the virus very quickly.

The remaining 5% of vaccinated people can become infected and get sick, but are extremely unlikely to be hospitalized.

Vaccination doesn’t 100% prevent you from getting infected, but in all cases it gives your immune system a huge leg up on the coronavirus.

Whatever your outcome – whether complete protection from infection or some level of disease – you will be better off after encountering the virus than if you hadn’t been vaccinated.

Vaccines prevent disease, not infection?

In general, if vaccination doesn’t completely prevent infection, it will significantly reduce the amount of virus coming out of your nose and mouth – a process called shedding – and shorten the time that you shed the virus.

In a recent preprint study which has yet to be peer reviewed, Israeli researchers tested 2,897 vaccinated people for signs of coronavirus infection.

Most had no detectable virus, but people who were infected had one-quarter the amount of virus in their bodies as unvaccinated people tested at similar times post-infection.

However, researchers don’t yet know where that cutoff is for the coronavirus, and since the vaccines don’t provide 100% protection from infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people continue to wear masks and social distance even after they’ve been vaccinated.

New, more infectious and transmissible variants of the coronavirus might limit the effectiveness of current vaccines?

New variants of coronavirus have emerged in recent months, and recent studies show that vaccines are less effective against certain ones, like the B1351 variant first identified in South Africa.

In recent months, researchers have found new variants that are more infective – meaning a person needs to breathe in less virus to become infected – and other variants that are more transmissible - meaning they increase the amount of virus a person sheds?

That means at least 40% of vaccinated people will still have a strong enough infection – and enough virus in their body – to cause at least moderate disease.

If vaccinated people have more virus in their bodies and it takes less of that virus to infect another person, there will be higher probability a vaccinated person could transmit these new strains of the coronavirus.

To be sure, any vaccine that reduces disease severity is also, at the population level, reducing the amount of virus being shed overall.

But because of the emergence of new variants, vaccinated people still have the potential to shed and spread the coronavirus to other people, vaccinated or otherwise.


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