Leprosy in wild armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) of the Texas Gulf Coast: epidemiology and mycobacteriology.J Reticuloendothel Soc. 1983 Aug; 34(2):75-88.JR
A significant prevalence of leprosy has been demonstrated in wild Louisiana armadillos. The Texas Gulf Coast still has endemic human leprosy, and recent mores in Texas have markedly increased armadillo-human contact. Armadillos were screened by physical examination, and by ear-snip and slit-scrape technique. Animals that screened "positive" were sacrificed and necropsied under aseptic conditions. Liver, spleen, gross lesions, and four groups of lymph nodes were cultured for mycobacteria and were studied histologically. Base ratios and DNA homology with Mycobacterium leprae were determined on mycobacteria from two armadillos (and two tissues from one of these); these studies indicate that the organism found in Texas armadillos is M leprae. Twenty-one of the armadillos were leprous--4.66%. The local prevalence varied from 1.0% to 15.4%. Epidemiologic implications of these findings and the occurrence of other concomitant mycobacterial infections are discussed.