6 Stories

2 California Kids Likely Have Leprosy

It's not clear where they got it

(Newser) - You might think of leprosy as a Biblical-era disease, but it's still around—now known as Hansen's disease—and two schoolchildren in California's Riverside County likely have it. As LiveScience reports, Hansen's disease is rare in the US, with just 100 to 200 cases reported in... More »

Florida Warning: Armadillos Are Spreading Leprosy

Playing with wild animals is a bad idea, state experts say

(Newser) - A spike in cases of one of history's most feared diseases has been blamed on a less-than-terrifying animal: the armadillo. Florida has seen nine leprosy cases so far this year, compared to as few as two in a typical year, and health officials believe the increase in cases has... More »

To Avoid Leprosy, Stop Playing With Armadillos

Wild ones can transmit disease to humans

(Newser) - Weird health advice of the day: Too much direct contact with armadillos—as in handling or eating them—can cause leprosy. Scientists for the first time have concluded that the animals can spread the disease to humans, reports the Los Angeles Times . The finding helps explain how some of the... More »

What Life Is Like for China's 20K Lepers

Survivors inhabit 600 isolated, if relatively normal, colonies

(Newser) - It may seem unbelievable, but 20,000 Chinese citizens live in isolated colonies for people who suffer an ancient, debilitating disease: leprosy. More than 600 state-run colonies exist throughout China, usually separated from society by nature—the government took care to build them on islands, mountaintops, or generally inaccessible locations.... More »

Pope Canonizes Father Damien

Belgian missionary, four others elevated to sainthood

(Newser) - Father Damien, the Belgian missionary who ministered to leprosy victims on the Hawaiian island of Molokai before contracting and dying of the disease, was canonized today. The 19th-century priest, the founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and three others were elevated to sainthood in a ceremony that drew... More »

Vatican to Canonize Priest Who Aided Lepers

(Newser) - A 19th-century Belgian priest who ministered to leprosy patients in Hawaii will be declared a saint October 11, the AP reports. In July, Pope Benedict XVI approved a miracle attributed to Rev. Damien de Veuster's intercession, declaring that a Honolulu woman's recovery in 1999 from terminal lung cancer was the... More »

6 Stories