N.H. woman treated for anthrax infection

A New Hampshire woman has come down with the first reported case of anthrax infection in the state since 1957.

New Hampshire health officials, who have not released the woman's name, have said that she is in critical condition suffering from what is probably gastroinetstinal anthrax, a potentially deadly infection.

Gastrointestinal anthrax, in comparison to the more widely reported cutaneous form of anthrax, is considered relatively rare. Some researchers, however, believe the the rare incidence does not mean that gastrointestinal anthrax is actually rare.

An Emerging Infectious Diseases article from July 2002 stated that, rather, the more commonly reported cutaneous form of anthrax is simply a result of how difficult gastrointestinal anthrax is to diagnose.

No source of infection is currently known, though the New Hampshire Union Leader recently reported that the woman is suspected to have contracted the infection as part of a drum circle she participated in at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

The drum circle, which is held monthly at Untied Campus Ministry, included the use of African instruments that health officials now suspect could carrying naturally occurring spores of the anthrax bacteria.

Currently, New Hampshire officials are working in conjunction with other state and federal agencies to track down the source of the anthrax infection.