Seasonal and spatial trends in the detectability of leprosy in wild armadillos.Epidemiol Infect. 1991 Jun; 106(3):549-60.EI
A survey for leprosy among 565 armadillos from Louisiana and Texas found IgM antibodies to the phenolic glycolipid-1 antigen of Mycobacterium leprae in 16% of the animals. There were no geographic trends in the distribution of prevalence rates between the sites and the disease probably has a much greater range. Repeat observations in one location showed significant seasonal variations in the observable antibody prevalence rate, but the yearly average remained similar. Infected armadillos tended to be heavier, and the females usually had plasma progesterone concentrations indicative of sexual maturity. Using these characteristics to stratify the populations into adult and sub-adult cohorts, variations in the observable leprosy prevalence rate were seen to be proportional to changes in the age structure of the populations. Leprosy appears to be maintained in steady state within some regions, and nearly a third of the adult armadillos in Louisiana and Texas harbour M. leprae.