Scotland reports 15th heroin user infected with anthrax

A fifteenth heroin user has tested positive for an anthrax infection in Scotland, showing that the spread of the disease has not abated.

Health officials confirmed the latest case, which is the first reported case in the NHS Ayrshire and Arran health board area, according to Health protection Scotland.

Seven people have died from the outbreak, which is believed to have stemmed from anthrax contaminated with a cutting agent or shipped in containers holding anthrax spores.

In response to the outbreak, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which has seen four fatalities from the outbreak, has started investigating addictions admitted to the hospital with serious soft-tissue infections from anthrax.

Another investigation, launched by health boards, the procurator fiscal and the Strathclyde Police is working on tracking down the source of the anthrax.

Symptoms of the outbreak have generally occurred within one to seven days of injecting the tainted heroin, though officials do no know for certain how long it takes the symptoms to develop.

Scottish officials stated earlier this month that they fear as many as 50 heroin addicts could be killed as a result of the outbreak, matching a similar 2000 case in Scotland in which heroin contaminated with nectrotising fasciitis killed 43 addicts.