Eight heroin users die after anthrax infection
Published 25/01/2010 | 05:00
EIGHT people have died of an anthrax infection that is believed to have come from contaminated heroin, European health authorities have revealed.
They said a batch of the drug was circulating in Europe that was contaminated with anthrax bacteria, whose spores can be used as a biological weapon.
Colin Ramsay, a consultant epidemiologist in Scotland, said: "I would urge all drug users to stop using heroin immediately and contact local drug services for support."
A total of 15 heroin users in Scotland have been found to have anthrax infection since December. Seven have died.
The eighth victim was a 42-year-old man in Germany, who died of anthrax infection in mid-December after injecting drugs, according to health authorities there.
"It is now suspected that heroin with infectious anthrax spores is in circulation in Europe," said the German health ministry in Berlin.