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Study shows that it is unlikely to catch leprosy from red squirrels.

A study has found that red squirrels carry strains of leprosy however an expert has said that it is highly unlikely to catch leprosy following a study which links red squirrels to the disease.

Scientists tested DNA samples from 25 red squirrels living on Brownsea Island in Dorset - which is home to around 200 red squirrels.This test found that every one was infected with the leprosy bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. A small amount of information is known about how the bacteria is spreading among red squirrels. The disease causes swelling and hair loss to the ears, muzzle and feet

However, experts have said that the chances of catching the disease from a squirrel are very low and have urged people living close to the animals not to worry.

Photograph from Discover Wildlife

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