Anthrax Outbreak Feared After Death In Blackpool
|A drug user in Blackpool has died of anthrax, raising concerns of a second outbreak of death and serious illness among injecting heroin users in Britain.
Last month another drug user was hospitalised in Lanarkshire, Scotland after contracting anthrax.
Health watchdogs are now trying to establish whether the incidents are linked to a pan-European outbreak suspected of being caused by contaminated heroin.
Since early June, three cases have been reported in Germany, two in Denmark and one in France.
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Anthrax among drug users was considered to be very rare – before an outbreak between 2009-10, mainly in Scotland, only one previous case had been reported, in Norway in 2000.
Fourteen people died out of 119 confirmed cases in Scotland in the last outbreak.
In England, there were five confirmed cases, including four deaths, with one in Blackpool, 24-year-old Shane Brown.
Although they have not officially been linked, European health experts say the recent cases could have come from the same batch of contaminated heroin in the 2009-10 outbreak.
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