About 23 cases of wound botulism related to heroin use have been reported in two European countries, according to a study released Monday by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
The cases of the infection were reported between December and February in Norway and Scotland. Norway has eight confirmed cases of wound botulism; Scotland has six confirmed and nine probable cases.
All the cases appear to have involved heroin use, and most of the patients used an intramuscular injection to take the drug. The individuals In Norway are believed to have bought the drugs in the Oslo area. All the U.K. cases seem to indicated the drugs were purchased in Glasgow.
Researchers aren't certain the cases in the two countries are connected, but based on information reviewed it is possible the same batch of heroin was available in both areas. Researchers did say the potentially contaminated heroin is still circulating and that other cases may occur.
Because the infection isn't transmitted from person to person, the report said there is no risk to the general population. However, if the contamination of the heroin began at an early stage in the batch's distribution, more cases may occur in other countries.