Central Florida is experiencing a leprosy outbreak, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While the infection may seem to have more biblical connotation than real-time relevance, Central Florida is experiencing a bit of a leprosy hotbed. The area now makes up nearly one in five leprosy cases detected in the US. Historically, Florida has not been known as a leprosy hotspot. But the data surrounding this outbreak features a variety of patients who've come down with leprosy without leaving the state of Florida.
Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, can spread from person to person, but it requires prolonged contact with someone who is infected. “This is not something you get from shaking hands,” said Anne W. Rimoin, PhD, MPH, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health.