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Friday, August 17, 2012

Anthrax Linked To Drug User Hospital Death in Blackpool (UK)

A drug user has died after becoming infected with anthrax, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced.

The patient died at a hospital in Blackpool, Lancashire, after injecting drugs.

The HPA said the source of the infection is presumed to be contaminated heroin.

The agency said it is "unclear" whether the case in Blackpool and another in Scotland, confirmed at the end of July, are linked to the European outbreak.

Since June, there have been seven confirmed cases of the infection - the one in Scotland, three in Germany, two in Denmark, and one in France.

These are the first cases of anthrax among drug users in Europe since an outbreak during 2009 and 2010. In that period, there were 119 cases in Scotland, five in England and two in Germany.

Anthrax is a bacterial infection and is primarily a disease of herbivorous mammals, though other animals and some birds can also contract it.

Dr Dilys Morgan, an expert in zoonotic infections at the HPA, said: "It's likely that further cases among PWID (people who inject drugs) will be identified as part of the ongoing outbreak in EU countries. Read More