When Leprosy is the Punch Line

In last week’s flurry of news articles about a study that linked leprosy in humans and armadillos, I was struck by how several stories substituted sensationalism for informed reporting. Particularly sophomoric was Chad Love of Field & Stream, who starts off by saying “Heartbreaking news for all the gustatory adventurers who love a good armadillo […]

Leprosy in Wild Armadillos is Old News (Yet Fascinating)

At least now we have DNA confirmation. There is a lot more to the story about people getting leprosy from armadillos than most news stories bothered to go into. As published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, genomic analysis shows that wild armadillos and many patients with leprosy in the southern United […]

‘An Elegant Example of Evolution in Action’

While leprosy has long been regarded as a rural disease, the reasons why have been little understood. But scientists now think the answer may have to do with the way cities  serve as a factor in natural selection: The gene variant that protects against certain diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy—which have been around for thousands […]