Leprosy is a disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. While long recognized in humans, infections in various species of animals are less well known and understood. The U.S. National Hansen’s Disease Program states “Armadillos are the only other known natural hosts of leprosy bacteria.” That may not be true.
The Harvard Public Health Review has published a piece titled “Off the Podium: Why Public Health Concerns for Global Spread of Zika Virus Means That Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Olympic Games Must Not Proceed.” The author is Amir Attaran, DPhil, LLB, MS. Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. I believe he is incorrect and the facts bolster that belief. The Rio Olympics should not be cancelled due to any risk from Zika.
The existing data suggests that the incidence of microcephaly in the Gulf Coast states is elevated above the national incidence. Any future correlation between the arrival of Zika and cases of microcephaly in that region should take into account the existing high levels.
Brazil’s Ministry of Health released its latest data on the “outbreak” of microcephaly in that nation. From October through March 19, 2016, the Ministry has received 6,671 reports of children born with microcephaly. Nearly 36 percent of those cases have been investigated.