More U.K. anthrax cases are possible
Fortune Ncube, an HPA expert in infections among drug users, said that medical professionals must be aware of the potential for anthrax infections in drug users that exhibit certain symptoms, Itv.com reports.
"Anthrax can be cured with antibiotics, if treatment is started early," Ncube said, according to Itv.com. "It is therefore important for medical professionals to be alert to the possibly of anthrax infection in heroin users presenting with signs and symptoms. People who use drugs may become infected with anthrax when the heroin they use is contaminated with anthrax spores."
Ncube said that drugs contaminated with anthrax spores could cause infection no matter how they are used.
"This could be a source of infection if injected, smoked or snorted - There is no safe route for consuming heroin or other drugs that may be contaminated with anthrax spores," Ncube said, according to Itv.com.
In September, heroin users in Cambridge received a warning about the potential of drug contamination with anthrax. David Cupit, the countywide service manager for Cambridgeshire Inclusion, told heroin users to get help through methadone or rehab to avoid infection.
"It is horrifying that the drug has been contaminated with the bacterial form of anthrax and we are warning heroin users not to inject or smoke the drug," Cupit said, according to Cambridge News. "Instead they can get help, whether it is going straight into a rehab or they may be prescribed with substitutes like methadone."
The HPA issued a warning about anthrax contamination in drugs after a drug user died in a Blackpool hospital with confirmed anthrax earlier this year.