England reports new intravenous drug user anthrax infection

A drug addict from Wales is being treated in a hospital with a suspected case of anthrax, health officials reported on Thursday.

Health officials have not revealed if the man, currently being treated at a hospital in the north west of England, is connected to an anthrax outbreak among intravenous drug users in Blackpool and Scotland, the Independent reports.

An ongoing outbreak in drug users in Europe, however, was reported by the officials.

Since June, a total of eight anthrax cases have been identified, with officials pointing to tainted heroin as the source.

"It's likely further cases among people who inject drugs will be identified as part of the ongoing outbreak in EU countries," Dr. Chris Whiteside, a consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said, the Independent reports. "The Department of Health has alerted the NHS of the possibility of drug users presenting to emergency departments and walk-in clinics, with symptoms suggestive of anthrax."

The drug addict, who has not been identified, is said to be responding well to treatment and is listed as being in stable condition.

Prior to the 2009-2010 Scotland outbreak, Europe had one reported on previous case of intravenous drug user anthrax infections. That case was reported in Norway in 2000.