The armadillo as an animal model and reservoir host for Mycobacterium leprae.Clin Dermatol. 2015 Jan-Feb; 33(1):108-15.CD
Apart from humans, armadillos are the only known natural hosts of Mycobacterium leprae. They are well developed as hosts for in vivo propagation of M leprae and are advancing as models for studying the pathogenesis of leprosy and translational research. Armadillos are immunologically intact. They exhibit the full Ridley-Jopling spectrum of histopathologic responses to M leprae and uniquely manifest extensive neurological involvement that closely recapitulates human leprosy. In addition, free-ranging armadillos in some regions are known to harbor a naturally occurring infection with M leprae, and zoonotic transmission between armadillos and humans has been implicated in a large number of new case presentations. We review the role of the armadillo as a model for leprosy and reservoir for human infection.