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Anthrax Tainted Heroin Kills 3 in Scotland

posted 01:33 AM EST, Sat January 02, 2010
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Anthrax Tainted Heroin Kills 3 in Scotland © Photo Credit: Kaibara87

Six heroin users in Glasgow have now contracted anthrax from a batch of deadly contaminated heroin floating through the city.

Six Scottish heroin users have now contracted Anthrax from contaminated heroin – three have so far died and the remaining three are responding well to treatment in hospital.

Anthrax is a deadly bacterial infection that most commonly afflicts hoofed animals, such as cattle, in Asia and Africa. Humans can contract the infection by inhaling the spores, or most commonly, through contact with the skin. Anthrax is not generally spread person to person.

Health officials suspect that a batch of heroin now in circulation may have been cut with infected bone meal, which is sometimes added to pure heroin to dilute the powder. Heroin is often processed in areas of the world which have more frequent outbreaks of anthrax infected cattle.

Dr. Syed Ahmed, a public health medicine expert, warned heroin users to be vigilant, saying, “The possible presence of a batch of heroin contaminated with anthrax makes drug injecting even riskier and even more dangerous. I urge all drug injecting heroin users to be extremely alert and to seek urgent medical advice if they experienced an infection."

Glasgow police and health officials at the NHS say they’re working to root out the source of the contaminated heroin.

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