Just in case you have been nibbling on armadillo meat in your spare time, I'm sending you this warning. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, take another bite of it.
It isn't just that it is revolting in appearance, which it is, but it now has been found to be dangerous to your health. And the warning extends even to touching and handling the critters.
What did the poor ugly armadillo do to get such a bad rap? Well, it seems that armadillos have been found to carry a gene for leprosy. And it can be passed on to humans.
CNN reported the following:
Each year...about 150 people in the US are infected with leprosy, a bacterial disease that can lead to nerve damage and disfigurement. In most cases, people are infected after being exposed to saliva from an infected person, usually while traveling to parts of the world, such as Africa and Asia, where the disease is more prevalent.
...Until now, experts haven't been able to confirm that armadillos could pass the disease to humans. But a recent study provides the strongest evidence to date. Researchers analyzed the genomes of leprosy-causing bacteria collected from seven patients and one armadillo. After identifying specific strains of the bacteria, they compared them with a larger group of infected people and armadillos from around the world.
Of the 50 patients and 33 wild armadillos the researchers analyzed from the US, 25 patients and 28 armadillos shared a genetically identical strain of leprosy bacteria. And at least 8 of the 25 patients carrying the strain reoprted contact with armadillos.
Now this is just a highlight from the original story. You can do a follow-up Google search for further details, but the reason I'm warning you is that I just finished reading the book on Father Damien who spent his adult life working with lepers on Molokai in the Hawaiian Islands, and after reading about leprosy and its affects, and then reading about this new study, I swore off even looking at armadillos, not to mention eating them.
I don't care if they taste as good as lobster tails. You will never find me eating an armadillo. "No Armadillo, no Leprosy" has now become my raison d'etre, and you lucky people are the first to hear my good news "No Armadillo, No Leprosy!"