Germany sees fourth case of anthrax infection from heroin injection

The Robert Koch Institut has confirmed the fourth case of anthrax contracted thorough heroin use in Germany.

The victim saw a doctor in mid-September after experiencing a soft tissue infection in the area of an injection. RKI used real-time PCR laboratory to confirm that it was anthrax, Examiner reports.

This marks the fourth confirmed case of anthrax in two states since June, with two confirmed cases in Regensburg and in Berlin each.

The RKI said that the cases may come from the same source of infection that sprang up in 2009-10 in Germany and Britain.

Since June, there have been eleven cases of anthrax reported among people who inject drugs. There have been four cases in the United Kingdom, two in Denmark and one in France, according to Examiner.

Anthrax is not passed from person-to-person, the RKI said.

Anthrax can be fatal in approximately 40 percent of cases when it is ingested into the gastrointestinal system. Inhalation anthrax can be lethal in as many as 90 percent of cases. Cutaneous infection, when anthrax comes into contact with the skin, is deadly in approximately one to 20 percent of cases if the patients get treatment early.

If the infection has time to develop inside of a person's body, the disease can become untreatable. People infected with anthrax receive antibiotics to treat the disease in its early stages. Anthrax can be transmitted from infected animals to people but is not transmissible between humans.