Armadillos do carry diseases. In fact, one of the most common diseases that are often found in armadillos is leprosy. The link between human infection and armadillos has not yet been heavily tested, but it does still remain a risk. In Louisiana alone, 53% of armadillos were found to have leprosy. Symptoms of leprosy include skin lesions, numbness, and nerve damage and muscle weakness. Armadillos are the only animals that can transmit this disease and they do so by attacking with their claws.
Armadillos are also sometimes known to carry rabies, although it is rare compared to other species of animals. Rabies is a virus that progressively paralyzes and kills any mammal, including humans. Rabies is generally contracted through contact with an infected armadillo through biting. It should be noted however, that since armadillos rarely bite, and only possess a few peg shaped molars, that individuals are at lower risk of contracting armadillo rabies than say contracting rabies from an animal such as a raccoon. If an armadillo seems fearless around humans or seems to be very active during the day, there is a good possibility that it is infected with the disease. It is for this reason that individuals should avoid the animal at all costs and call animal control immediately to have the armadillo professionally removed.
Another problem that is not uncommon in these creatures is contracting tapeworms. Tapeworms are parasites of the digestive system that can be transmitted to humans. Armadillos are also known to carry the bacteria salmonella. People who pick up this bacterium can become seriously ill with diarrhea, fever, vomiting and chills. Salmonella can also affect the blood and can in serious cases even be fatal resulting in death. Armadillo salmonella can be easily spread through contact with armadillo fecal matter.