Sixth death in Scotland anthrax outbreak

Health officials in Scotland have revealed that they believe contaminated heroin thought to be responsible for multiple Glasgow anthrax cases may be circulating elsewhere in the nation.

The news comes following the death of two more drug users infected with anthrax in Glasgow and Tayside, bringing the death toll to six and total infected to 12.

The confirmed cases include a male patient in NHS Tayside, three male patients in NHS Lanarakshire, four men and three women in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and one man in Stirling. Test results for a woman in Fife, currently under investigation for anthrax, are still being waited upon.

Health officials are currently operating on the assumption that contaminated heroin or a contaminated cutting agent mixed with heroin could potentially be responsible for the outbreak of infections.

"Evidence now suggests that potentially contaminated heroin may be in circulation in other parts of Scotland, not just the Glasgow area," Dr. Colin Ramsay, consultant epidemiologist at Health Protection Scotland, said.

"All heroin users need to be aware of the risks contaminated heroin is potentially dangerous taken by any route, not just injection.

"I would advise heroin users to stop using heroin and seek advice from local harm reduction and drug services for support."