New anthrax infection reported in London

A new case of anthrax infection has been reported in an injecting heroin user in London, the Health Protection Agency has announced.

The newest case follows on the heels of two previous cases in England, 24 in Scotland and one in Germany that have resulted in 12 deaths since the anthrax epidemic began in Scotland in December.

"I urge all heroin users in London to be extremely alert to the risks and to seek urgent medical advice if they experience signs of infection such as redness or swelling at or near an injection site or other symptoms... such a high temperature, chills or a severe headache," Lindsey Davies, director of public health for the British capital, said in a statement.

"This is a very serious infection for drug users," Davies said. "Early antibiotic treatment can be lifesaving."

The anthrax infections are believed to have originated with a heroin batch that is circulating in the region. Experts have stated that they believe it is unlikely the heroin was deliberately contaminated.

Other countries might also be at risk according tot he European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, which is tasked with monitoring health int he European Union.

"Considering the complex international distribution chain of heroin and the link among cases in Scotland and Germany, the exposure to a contaminated batch of heroin distributed in several EU member states is probable," the center said on its website.