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Old April 28, 2011, 05:09 PM   #1
Vanya
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A warning for 'dillo hunters

According to a study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported in this story in the New York Times, armadillos can transmit leprosy to humans. The group of people most at risk are those who hunt and eat them...

It's thought that around a third of leprosy cases in the U.S. are contracted this way, and 20 percent of armadillos in the U.S. are infected, so the risk of coming into contact with an infected one isn't that small if you're hunting them.

And while leprosy (Hansen's disease) is now treatable with antibiotics, the treatment isn't easy: according to the article, it requires "a one- to two-year regimen with three different drugs."

Not to mention that you'd have to be diagnosed first... all in all, not a fun date.

The article also mentions that leprosy researchers have been speculating about this mode of transmission for some time. So I'm curious, as someone who doesn't hunt them myself (I'm way too far north...), whether there's any "folk wisdom," or any rumors about this, among folks who do.
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Old April 28, 2011, 05:18 PM   #2
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Killed loads of them...but no no no..wouldn't eat them..man come on lol im not no hill billy..just a red neck..( hill billy that graduated high school lol )...and I always use gloves to touch them with...but no..never heard any of the stories...I have read about it tho
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Old April 28, 2011, 05:21 PM   #3
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Very interesting!! I myself do not eat them but I do shoot them when I see em, unless im deer or turkey huntin. Dont know if ya ever herd of opossum stompin but I dont know if thats considered huntin them. Ridin dirt roads and when you see a opossom or armadillo jupm out and kick the mess out of it. I know its redneck but, its fun, specailly when you get to where you have to aim at them
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Old April 28, 2011, 05:38 PM   #4
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I've hunted them for years as they are quite destructive little creatures. I have never eatin one and was unaware that people did so. I was also unaware of their connection to lepracy. I wonder if that affects dogs as well? My dog has killed and eaten as many or more than I have shot. Something I'll have to research. Thanks to the OP for the info.
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Old April 28, 2011, 06:05 PM   #5
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mrgoodwrench76

I wonder if that affects dogs as well? My dog has killed and eaten as many or more than I have shot.

I asked my wife (she's a vet) and she has never heard of a case where dogs have contracted Hansen's disease (leprosy) from an armadillo. Two of her books actually have stated that the only known carriers of Hansen's are Humans, Armadillos and Bonobo monkeys from central Africa.
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Old April 28, 2011, 06:56 PM   #6
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We have covered this several times here. The issue of leprosy in 'dillos is well documented.

I am afraid your wife's vet books are incorrect. It can also be carried in mice pads and insects.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...904224,00.html
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Old April 28, 2011, 07:03 PM   #7
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I remember when I went to tech school in San Antonio Texas for the air force. We were told the 'dillo could transmit leprosy to people and to avoid them at all cost.

During a training exercise, our fire-team was low crawling through some brush and we were doing a pretty good job of staying low and not being observed... Until one of the fire-team members crawled nose to nose with one. Then he popped up, yelled "LEPROSY" and took off running. He gave our positions away and we became casualties.

Never have liked the dang things since.
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Old April 28, 2011, 09:24 PM   #8
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This was in a medical journal publication. I have always heard, even from some doctors who are hunters, that it is a different strain of leprocy that cannot be transferred to humans. i don't feel the need to touch them after i kill them though. We used to catch them when i was a kid though and I'm fine.
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Old April 28, 2011, 09:53 PM   #9
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Interesting. I've never shot a 'dillo; nor seen one for that matter. We don't have 'em in Az, and they can stay away as far as I'm concerned.

I'd rather shoot jackrabbits and ground squirrels, anyway.

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Old April 28, 2011, 10:05 PM   #10
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people that eat those things wouldn't know it if they did have leprosy
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Old April 28, 2011, 10:06 PM   #11
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egor20:

shave yer dog and find out!!!
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Old April 28, 2011, 10:41 PM   #12
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Not claiming it as an absolute, but SFAIK all known cases of leprosy from armadillos have occurred in Louisiana, and those have always been rare. Basically, it seems to be "possible, but highly unlikely"--absent absolute carelessness, such as handling one when you have an open sore on a finger or hand.
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Old April 29, 2011, 01:39 AM   #13
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Wow, things must be gettin tuff,Never crossed My mind someone would eat possem on the half shell.They do make nice 22 targets.
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Old April 29, 2011, 04:13 AM   #14
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Aw, c'mon. The things come in their own cooking pot. How could you resist eating them
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Old April 29, 2011, 05:40 AM   #15
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Will this cause my shell to fall off? Just wondering.
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Old April 29, 2011, 08:34 AM   #16
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I've shot a bunch of them, but never considered eating one. They're vermin, they are destructive to pastures, and I've known about the leprosy problem since I was a kid.

There are plenty of them here in north-central Louisiana. I find it best to shoot them with a .22LR. No, it doesn't anchor them and that's a feature, not a bug. If you put a .22 slug in their lungs, they'll jump straight up in the air and run like hell for the burrow, where they expire from the lung shot. Armadillos are self-burying. You don't have to drag them off.

If you shoot one with a larger bullet, they'll roll over and die. Then you've got to drag them off. I prefer the self-burying feature.
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Old April 29, 2011, 08:47 AM   #17
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Funny how a medical journal can publish an article as new and the research it took to gather the info surely cost someone a ton of cash to tell us what we have passed around the camp fire for generations.

I would have to be terrible hungry to settle down to a bowl of diller gumbo but I would before starving!

I was 12 the first time I heard of leprosy in dillers and routinely heard the news every year or three since and the info never changed so i could chalk the tale into the "possible" column.

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Old April 29, 2011, 09:04 AM   #18
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Quote:
This was in a medical journal publication. I have always heard, even from some doctors who are hunters, that it is a different strain of leprocy that cannot be transferred to humans. i don't feel the need to touch them after i kill them though. We used to catch them when i was a kid though and I'm fine.
Yeah, it was a medical journal, but nothing has changed. This study is only a DNA confirmational study of that which was already documented to occur. The strain in question was known to be zoonotic to humans.

The reason you are fine is because 95% of the human population is immune to leprosy, not because it is a different strain.

There was a neat article back in another medical journal in 1983 noting the presence of leprosy in armadillo handlers.
Lumpkin et al., 1983 Leprosy in five armadillo handlers. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 9:899-903.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6643788

Here is a later study from 2008, from a medical journal, noting leprosy in folks whose only exposure to it has been through armadillos.
http://journals.lww.com/smajournalon...ocytic.14.aspx
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Old April 29, 2011, 09:55 AM   #19
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Wikipedia probably has coverage of Father Damien, if you're interested in some history about leprosy.

I learned about the relationship between armadillos and leprosy when I was a kid, which was the WW II era. IOW, the wheel has once again been re-invented.
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Old April 29, 2011, 10:42 AM   #20
Double Naught Spy
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Right, and in S. America, the connection between Leprosy and 'dillos has been part of the folklore for generations. As I recall, that has been documented in Venezuela or Brazil.
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Old April 29, 2011, 10:53 AM   #21
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The hardest part of eatin' an armadillo is

Getting the other side to stick to the bottom of your car engine after you've flipped them....

I had heard about the connection, but never had a desire to hunt them.

Last edited by doofus47; April 29, 2011 at 10:53 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old April 29, 2011, 11:56 AM   #22
Vanya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Eatman
IOW, the wheel has once again been re-invented.
Why am I not surprised... I had a feeling that folks who live in 'dillo-land probably knew all about this.

I did find this, from the NYT article, interesting, though:
But one of the interesting aspects of leprosy is that transmission seems to have gone in both directions. Leprosy was not present in the New World before Christopher Columbus, and armadillos are indigenous only to the New World.

“So armadillos had to have acquired it from humans sometime in the last 400 to 500 years,” said Dr. Richard W. Truman, a researcher at the National Hansen’s Disease Program in Baton Rouge, La.
So it's our fault the poor little guys have it in the first place...
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Old April 29, 2011, 12:55 PM   #23
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I shoot the destructive little varmints and let the buzzards have them. Wouldn't even think about eating one!!!!
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Old April 29, 2011, 02:06 PM   #24
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I keep an un-baited live catch trap next to my house just for amadillos. I've managed to catch 11 in the past year (along with a couple of 'possums, one cat, and one skunk).

They like to dig up the yard and try to burrow under my foundation. That is enough to declare war. Some have been relocated further out in the country. Most, however, just get the death penalty. A .22 short cb cap to the back of the head does the trick very quietly.
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Old April 29, 2011, 02:32 PM   #25
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The risk is there for HANDLING and eating.
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