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Scientists baffled after leprosy found in chimpanzees for first time

Leprosy now found in wild chips The medical conditions are the

Same for the chimps as in humans.








Are diseases more common that we think, which effect animals and humans alike. For example we know about AIDS, Covid, and now Leprosy.


 Scientists have identified leprosy in wild chimpanzees for the first time, and the symptoms resemble those in infected people. Researchers of late found leprosy-infected chimps in unconnected populations in two West African countries, Guinea-Bissau and the Ivory Coast. Facial lesions in several of the animals looked like those in humans with advanced leprosy; genetic analysis of the chimps' stool samples confirmed that animals in both groups were carrying Mycobacterium leprae, isbacteria that causes the marring disease.


These cases are the first to be fund in wild chimps, it has been reported that there has been a few cases in captive chimps. Since there has been no cases previously it is baffling researchers. Since some hve been found in chimps that have been in captivity while others have been found in wild remote areas, and in different regions. 


Bacteria pass between people in droplets from the nose and mouth during close and frequent contact, Leprosy symptoms that affect the skin include discolored patches, lesions, ulcers and swelling; other symptoms target the nervous system, resulting in numbness, vision problems and muscle weakness or temporary paralysis, the CDC says. Severe, untreated cases in humans can lead to blindness, permanent paralysis, facial disfigurement and shortening of fingers and toes, but the disease is curable and treatment during the early stages can prevent disability.


an infected person for about five years on average, though symptoms can occur within one year or may take 20 years or longer to appear.


Researchers took pictures of the chimps over a 4 year period and they captured images of chimps showing "severe leprosy-like lesions" and growths on their faces, trunks and genitals. Affected chimps also displayed hair loss, facial disfigurement, and excessive nail growth and deformed digits, called "claw hand" — another hallmark of leprosy.


Genetic data showed that the strains of M. leprae affecting the two chimp populations were different. Both were rare strains, not just rare in humans but also in other animals. These two groups were not intertwined.


Leprosy is one of the oldest known diseases to be associated with humans — the earliest known case was found in a human skeleton dating to about 4,000 years ago.  Its impacts on infected people have been studied and recorded for centuries. But to compare, next to nothing is known about how chimpanzees have been exposed to the bacteria, how the disease is transmitted between individuals, and how long infected chimps may survive.


When leprosy was first detected in humans, people were made outcasts of society and were sent to leprosy villages where they suffered and lived out their lives in shame. Many people were banished . 

Before a treatment was found in 1951, patients in the U.S. mainland were sent to a leprosarium in the town of Carville, Louisiana, which in 1921 became the National Leprosarium of the United States and at its peak housed up to 500 patients. Patients were consistently deprived of fundamental civil liberties: to work, to move freely and see loved ones, to vote, to raise families of their own. Some who bore children had their babies forcibly removed. Many were also banished to the Hawaiian island of Molokai. While patients’ families could visit, they were housed in separate quarters, and allowed to communicate only through a chicken wire screen. Once in a lepper colony you could never leave.


 By the 1940s, after a cure emerged for the condition—and science made clear that most of the population had a natural immunity to it—other countries began to abolish compulsory isolation policies. But in the U.S., even as leprosy patients' health and conditions improved, old stigmas, fear of contagion and outdated laws kept many confined for decades longer.


A tiny number of Hansen’s disease patients still remain at Kalaupapa, a leprosarium established in 1866 on a remote, but breathtakingly beautiful spit of land on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Thousands lived and died there in the intervening years, including a later-canonized saint. But by 2008, the settlement's population had dwindled to 24—and by 2015, only six remained full time, despite having long been cured. Now in their 80s and 90s, many residents first arrived on the island as children. They knew no other life.


The "separating sickness” was long thought to have no cure. Despite historic connotations of sexual impropriety, leprosy is usually spread via saliva or, more unusually, through contact with an armadillo. (There’s good evidence that what we call leprosy today may in fact not be the same condition described in ancient texts.) Some 95 percent of people are naturally immune, while those who contract the infection can be easily treated with a cocktail of inexpensive antibiotics. To this day, however, the intense stigma surrounding leprosy continues to prevent patients from seeking the straightforward care that can stop terrible disfigurement in its tracks.


Treatment consists of antibiotics two antibiotics (dapsone and rifampicin) treat paucibacillary leprosy, while multibacillary leprosy is treated with the same two plus a third antibiotic, clofazimine. Usually, medical professionals administer the antibiotics for at least six to 12 months or more to cure the disease.


Venezuelan scientist and doctor Jacinto Convit, renowned for developing a vaccine against leprosy, He won many awards, including France's Legion of Honor, but missed out on the 1988 Nobel Prize for Medicine.


Died at age 100 in2014. He had a passion to deal with two of the most stigmatized diseases in the world - leprosy and a parasite called leishmaniasis. And he devoted his life to finding ways to improve the health of people who, for much of the world and much of the world of science, had been forgotten."


Leprosy is still around today but thanks to this Dr. people can get treatment and be cured. From a horrible skin disease that is crippling if left untreated.


Maybe these wild chimps can be treated somehow as well.









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