Do cockroaches really cause leprosy?
Most homeowners are aware of the health and safety risks associated with cockroach infestations, including the allergies and asthma triggered by cockroach allergens, and the germs and bacteria they have been known to spread. Well, maybe not most homeowners but there is one thing most homeowners know, that cockroaches give leprosy! That’s some fact that has been left unchecked by many. So is it true? If some cockroach bites you (which is strange) does it mean you’re gonna have leprosy?
We’ll answer that question here and now.
First, what is leprosy?
Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. It primarily affects the nerves of the extremities (hands and legs), the skin, the lining of the nose, and the upper respiratory tract. Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease.
Leprosy produces skin ulcers, nerve damage, and muscle weakness. If it isn’t treated, it can cause severe disfigurement and significant disability.
What are the symptoms of leprosy?
The main symptoms of leprosy include:
- muscle weakness
- numbness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs
- skin lesions
The skin lesions result in decreased sensation to touch, temperature, or pain. They don’t heal, even after several weeks. They’re lighter than your normal skin tone or they may be reddened from inflammation.
How does leprosy primarily spread?
The bacterium Mycobacterium leprae causes leprosy. It’s thought that leprosy spreads through contact with the mucosal secretions of a person with the infection. This usually occurs when a person with leprosy sneezes or coughs.
The disease isn’t highly contagious. However, close, repeated contact with an untreated person for a longer period can lead to contracting leprosy.
Delayed diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious complications. These can include: kidney failure, glaucoma, an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, blindness, erectile dysfunction (ED), infertility, kidney failure, glaucoma, an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve
It’s really a big deal. If a cockroach could cause you all these, I think it pretty much worth it to investigate if it’s true or not.
Do cockroaches really cause leprosy?
Cockroaches as well as other insects have come under suspicion as possible vectors of Mycobacterium leprae, the causative agent of Hansen’s disease or leprosy. The evidence for insect vectors in the transmission of leprosy is based on analogy, because leprosy is the poor man’s disease and the vector should be an insect that is important in the homes of unhygienically living people. Mycobacterium leprae passes unharmed through the intestine of the cockroach after feeding on leprous nodules. They then pass it out in their feces
So yes, cockroaches are a vector for leprosy, but not every cockroach. Only the infected ones!
The bites or the feces of infected cockroaches can be sources of infection in leprosy. Contaminated cockroach feces may be rubbed or scratched into the skin. As mechanical vectors of leprosy, cockroaches could conceivably transport Mycobacterium leprae on their legs from leprous individuals to existing lesions in the skin of sleeping humans without either biting man or excreting the organism in the feces
So basically if you come in contact with a cockroach that has come in contact with a leprous nodule, there are chances that you could be infected. Really, cockroaches do cause leprosy.
Now how do you tell if a cockroach has been infected or not?
Well, you can’t. So stay away from cockroaches!
But there’s a very little likely hood of a cockroach being infected with leprosy in developed areas.
Most times, the cockroach must have come in contact with a leper environment (where someone who has leprosy stays) before it can transmit the disease. If there are no lepers around your area, you might just be in luck, which in most times is the case.
Cockroaches don’t only transmit leprosy. They transmit a ton of other diseases you’ll see here so you should avoid cockroaches in your household as much as possible.
All the same, cockroaches are not always disgusting, scary, and full of disease. They can be interesting to learn about sometimes. For instance, did you know that
A Cockroach Can Live for Week Without Its Head
A Cockroach Can Hold Its Breath for 40 Minutes
They Can Run Up to Three Miles in an Hour
Cockroaches Can Live Without Food for One Month
Cockroaches have been implicated in the spread of 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella species, six parasitic worms, and more than seven other types of human pathogens. So stay away!