Armadillos Are Giving Everyone Leprosy

Are you a leper? It may be because of the nine-banded armadillo, and not because you are a sinful blasphemer, as previously believed: Based on new evidence, scientists think that the armadillo carries and can spread leprosy to human populations. DNA tests have matched the leprosy strains of some U.S. patients with those of armadillos—among the only animals that carry the bacteria—and though the majority of cases in the U.S. are contracted in countries with higher instances of the disease, these tests indicate that some American patients contracted leprosy through armadillo exposure. Now: It's unlikely the diseases is transmitted through armadillo-human sex—though it's gross your mind went there immediately—as leprosy isn't sexually transmitted between humans, but Dr. Warwick Britton of the University of Sydney in Australia says that he "would not cuddle armadillos," which strikes us as both an admirable personal confession on the part of Dr. Britton, as well as advice we should all consider following. [AP]