Leprosy cases are popping up across the country, including Florida, where the disease may have become endemic experts say

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Leprosy is on the rise again in the United States, particularly in Florida, concerning disease specialists.

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According to the World Health Organization, about 200,000 cases of the disease occur every year in 120 countries worldwide and are often associated with contact with armadillos.

The U.S. is experiencing cases creep upwards, with the number of infections across the country more than doubling over the past decade, both in people exposed to armadillos and those who aren’t.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year, there were 159 new cases of leprosy in the U.S. in 2020, around a fifth of which were in Florida. Of the Florida cases, 81 percent were found in central Florida.

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Cases in the southeastern states have nearly doubled over the last decade, according to the report.


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