The nine-banded armadillos that can transmit the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae to humans were once thought to be primarily confined to parts of Louisiana and Texas. However, now there's evidence that some of the animals with this infection live in other regions in the southeastern United States, said the paper, published online (Oct. 29) in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
"This is not a public health threat," said Richard W. Truman, chief of the laboratory research branch for the National Hansen's Disease Program in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the study's lead author. "Leprosy is and will remain a very rare infection," he told Live Science. [10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species]
Hansen's disease is not a highly contagious disease, but most people have an image of leprosy as it's been depicted in movies and books, Scollard said. Today, the disease is no longer the curse people have imagined it to be, he said.
There are numbers in the article that back this up and they're very compelling. The whole "Armadillos are vectors for Leprosy" is more of a novelty worth pondering than any real concern.