Human leprosy found in British red squirrels

Scientists have discovered human leprosy in British red squirrels, uncovering one leprosy-driving bacterial strain, in particular, that is similar to that responsible for outbreaks of the disease in medieval Europe. The researchers say their findings suggest squirrels have been a reservoir for these ancient bacteria for decades, though they stress that the chances of people catching the disease from the animals are low. Leprosy, now largely confined to developing nations, has been thought to be exclusively transmitted in humans, mainly because scientists have failed to culture the bacteria in animals.

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