LEPROSY

There is good and bad to everything. Many times the bad is hidden/forgotten. Especially in the instance where the something bad has turned with the passage of time into a shining gem.

It is the story of leprosy and Key West. One I only learned this past week.

Diana Millikan is a snowbird. Interested in history. Digs every day into Key West’s background. She brought the leprosy part to my attention. I merely read what she provided.

There was a concern on her part that perhaps nothing should be written re the subject. A negative report. I initially agreed. Then decided that what was was. Let it all out.

The Biblical plague of all time is leprosy. Monroe County, and especially Key West, had a large number of leprosy victims residing here. It was another time, another century.

Once as many as 100. One of the largest numbers in the United States. None of the victims caught the dread disease here. It was brought from the outside into the Keys.

Leprosy is not contagious. One human to another. Don’t laugh. Leprosy is spread by armadillos. I do not recall armadillos inhabiting this area.

Today, leprosy is treatable. Persons affected are no longer isolated. Since 1942, a drug called Putome is available to cure leprosy.

The problem still exists. About ten cases a year in the United States. I do not know when the last case was reported in the Key West area. Note however that two Key West doctors list in their areas of expertise leprosy.

When leprosy was rampant, U.S. residents were shipped off to Carville, Louisiana. That is where they were isolated, lived. Five thousand patients over the years. The leprosy facility was closed by the government in 1999. No new business.

However, ten elderly residents remain. They never left. They have lived there their whole lives. They were born in Carville.

James Carville comes into play. James of Democratic political fame. His great grandfather was Postmaster of the Carville area for years. Carville, Louisiana is named after him.

I received sad information from Lynda Frechette this morning. Judy Wood is dead. The exuberant charming Tavern ‘n Town bartender. I will provide more information as received.

My intent last night was to hear Terri White sing at La Te Da at a Fantasy Fest King Fundraiser for Christopher. Then to The Little Room Jazz Club to attend Larry Smith’s birthday celebration.

Made neither. For some reason, I became extremely exhausted in the afternoon. The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent in bed.

Syracuse/Virginia Tech saturday. Virginia Tech a 17 point favorite.

I wish the football season would end!

Have to hustle. A haircut with Lori at noon. Then lunch at Jay’s new Cuzzy Bubbaz. It opened two days ago.

Enjoy your day!

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