Danish drug addict tests positive for anthrax after death

An intravenous drug user in Denmark who died after injecting himself with heroin recently tested positive for anthrax infection.

Danish health authorities confirmed that they suspect the 55-year-old's heroin was contaminated with the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, according to SacBee.com.

There are an estimated 13,000 intravenous drug users in Denmark, with 8,000 living in Copenhagen, where the man was hospitalized and later died. The Gadejuristerne, an aid group dedicated to helping drug addicts, said not enough was being done to warn against the danger that infected drugs could still be on the street, according to CPHPost.dk.

The Health Ministry of Denmark said it does not suspect the death was related to terrorism. They intend to compare the case to similar deaths that occurred in Germany earlier in the summer.

German officials said that there may a link between contaminated heroin found in Germany and a 2010 anthrax outbreak among intravenous drug users in Scotland. The Robert Koch Institute, the German government's center for disease control and prevention, said it now assumes that the circulation of contaminated heroin is more widespread than previously believed, according to RKI.de.

In response to the death in Denmark, health officials in the southern Swedish city of Skåne issued a warning to that country's heroin users.

"Copenhagen and Malmö are very close so after the death in Denmark, we thought it best to warn heroin users here about the possible risks," Håkan Ringberg, a Swedish infectious diseases specialist, said, TheLocal.se reports. "We're advising users not to take heroin intravenously."