New Hampshire anthrax victim recovering at home

The New Hampshire woman who, almost four months ago, contracted the state's first reported case of anthrax infection since 1957 has been released from the hospital.

The woman contracted the potentially fatal infection after swallowing anthrax spores. It is believed that the spores were released into the air during a drum circle by the vigorous beating of drum heads made of anthrax infected animal skins.

As a result of inhaling the anthrax spores, the woman contracted the relatively rare gastrointestinal form of anthrax. Cutaneous anthrax infections are more widely reported, though an Emerging Infectious Diseases article from July 2002 says that might only be because gastrointestinal infections are much more difficult to diagnose.

A spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Health Department has told the Associated Press that the unnamed woman is now recovering at home.

The drum circle took place at the United Campus Ministry center in Durham, N.H. Rev. Larry Brickner-Wood has said that clean-up work at the center is expected to be completed this week, with students and staff set to return by week's end following environmental testing.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services confirmed three samples taken at the center were confirmed as positive for anthrax. Two drums and an electrical outlet were found to be positive for anthrax spores.