A heroin user in London has tested positive for anthrax, the first case in users in England. This discovery comes following the deaths of nine heroin users in Scotland from anthrax infection. Anthrax is an infection common to livestock in Asia and Africa which is transmitted by spores, although rarely from person-to-person. This almost sounds like a plot from a William Burroughs novel.
The HPA [Health Protection Agency] said the unnamed user was being treated in a London hospital and that other drug users in the capital should be “extremely alert to the risks”.
It urged them “to cease taking heroin by any route, if at all possible”.
Based on the limited numbers of heroin addicts I’ve known, I think the HPA is going to need a better plan than advising them to stop taking heroin because it could kill them. I have a feeling that’s not a warning most are going to heed.
Anthrax Found in London Heroin User [BBC News]