What You Should Know About Armadillos And Leprosy

"Generally, you don't want to be playing with wild animals anyway."

By now, you may have heard that armadillos are causing leprosy outbreaks in Florida. Nine cases have been reported in Florida this year, which is close to the annual average of ten, according to Time.

So, just how dangerous are these critters to your health? Before you freak out and conjure up images of disfigurement and medieval shunning (hey, it's historically accurate, at least!), here's what you should know:

Still freaked out? Don't be. But while leprosy is extremely uncommon in the United States, it is worth nothing that there are parts of the world, from Angola to India to Madagascar and Brazil, where it's a life-altering condition, according to the World Health Organization.

As long as Florida visitors and residents steer clear of armadillos, they'll probably be okay. As Florida Health Department spokesman Brad Dalton pointed out to USA Today, "Generally, you don't want to be playing with wild animals anyway."

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