Which Diseases Are Carried By Armadillos?

Image of an armadillo burrowing

Armadillos in the United States are naturally infected with the bacteria that causes Hansen’s disease in humans, and it’s possible that they can spread it to humans. However, the risk of contracting Hansen’s disease is relatively low, and most people who come into contact with armadillos are unlikely to contract it.

Avoid contact with armadillos as much as possible for your own health. Consult your healthcare provider if you had contact with an armadillo and are concerned about Hansen’s disease. Your doctor will monitor your progress and conduct periodic skin exams to see if you develop the disease. If you do have Hansen’s disease, your doctor can assist you in receiving treatment.

Learn More: Armadillo Removal FAQ

What Is Hansen’s Disease?

The bacterium Mycobacterium leprae causes leprosy (Hansen’s Disease), which is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection. The nerves of the hands/feet, the skin, the lining of the nose, and the upper respiratory tract are the most commonly affected. Skin ulcers, nerve damage, and muscle weakness are all symptoms of leprosy. If left untreated, it can result in severe disfigurement and disability.

Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases to exist. Around 600 B.C., the first written reference to leprosy was discovered. Most subtropical climates are filled with wildlife harboring leprosy.

How To Prevent Contracting Diseases From Armadillos?

The majority of rabies and leprosy cases linked to armadillos are caused by human actions, not by the pests’ aggression. Armadillos carry diseases that are difficult to catch unless you are near them. People are most likely to contract the disease from these animals when they handle or eat them. Keep in mind that bacteria and viruses can still be found in improperly cooked meat and dead armadillos, so avoid trapping or removal that requires direct contact. Because there are no effective repellants, toxicants, or fumigants for armadillos, it’s best to contact wildlife control experts to handle the critters.