Denmark reports second anthrax case in heroin user
The State Serum Institute confirmed on Saturday that a 39-year-old drug addict tested positive for Bacillus anthracis, the deadly anthrax bacterium. The patient first visited a doctor on Wednesday and the anthrax diagnosis was confirmed by Friday, Jyllands-Posten reports.
The infected patient is currently being treated in Copenhagen for anthrax.
The incident follows a fatal case of anthrax in the country earlier in July, when a 55-year-old heroin user became infected after using tainted drugs.
"It underlines the risk of the use of heroin, where it appears that it may be contaminated with the anthrax bacteria," Arne Scheel Thomsen, the chief medical officer of the National Board of Health Ritzau, said, according to Jyllands-Posten.
Heroin users have been affected elsewhere in Europe, with anthrax cases reported in France, Germany and Lanarkshire, Scotland.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is a disease caused by the spore-forming Bacillus anthracis bacterium, which can infect humans and animals through the skin, lungs or digestive system. Humans can become infected by handling products from infected animals. Anthrax was used as a weapon in the United States in 2001 when it was deliberately sent through the mail.