Humans Gave Leprosy to Armadillos. Now, They’re Giving It Back
Wild armadillo meat is popular in Brazil, but a new study shows those who eat it put themselves at risk of contracting leprosy.
In Brazil, it’s not uncommon to eat armadillo, which reportedly tastes like chicken. But new research warns against the practice—it could give you leprosy.
In a study published Thursday in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, researchers found that 62 percent of the nine-banded armadillos sampled in Brazil’s western state of Pará showed signs of exposure to the bacterium that causes leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease.
What’s more, the study found that people who eat nine-banded armadillo meat more frequently show higher concentrations of leprosy antibodies in their blood, hinting at a strong correlation between hunting, handling, and eating these animals and contracting the disease.
One dish eaten in certain areas could be particularly problematic: armadillo liver ceviche, a mixture of