English heroin user dies from anthrax infection

A Loughborough, England, man died recently after injecting himself with heroin that was tainted with anthrax.

Authorities told the Sleaford Standard that four men were arrested in connection with the incident and later released on bail following the death of Thomas Forbes.

Officials with the Health Protection Agency told the Sleaford Standard that Forbes's death was the fourth case in England where anthrax was found in an injecting drug user. Health Protection Agency officials also noted there was not much risk to the wider population.

Tim Davies, deputy director of public health for NHS Leicestershire County and Rutland, stressed to the Sleaford Stanford there was still a danger for heroin users and that they need to remain extremely cautious.

“Heroin users are strongly advised to cease taking heroin by any route, if at all possible, and to seek help from their local drug treatment services,” Davies said, according to the Sleaford Stanford. “This is a very serious infection for drug users and prompt treatment is crucial. If friends and family are concerned about a family member or friend and their drug use there are a number of services, including their GP, social services and local drug teams who can help advise about where the most appropriate help can be found.”

Approximately 47 similar cases of anthrax infections have been reported in Scotland since December of 2009, according to the Sleaford Stanford.