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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 12:58 GMT
Village anthrax find reassurances
The risk from the anthrax find is said to be "extremely low"
Health chiefs have said there is no need for antibiotics to be offered after the discovery of minute traces of anthrax in a Borders village hall.

The hall in Smailholm has been closed to allow decontamination to take place.

The discovery was made during checks being made following the death of Hawick man Pascal Norris in July.

Antibiotics were offered to dozens of people at that time but NHS Borders said there was no need to make similar moves after the Smailholm incident.

Earlier this month a house in the village was also cordoned off by scientists investigating Mr Norris's death.

There is no action required to be taken by the public in terms of action that we have taken in the earlier parts of this investigation
Dr Andrew Riley

NHS Borders director of public health, Dr Andrew Riley, said there was no cause for alarm among villagers.

"The public health risk remains unchanged - it is extremely low," he said.

"There is no action required to be taken by the public in terms of action that we have taken in the earlier parts of this investigation."

Antibiotics were offered and people who had been in contact with Mr Norris were traced after his Black Lodge property was sealed off in August.

"Nothing like that is required at this point in time because the public health risk is extremely low," said Dr Riley.

Helpline available

Anthrax is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

It most commonly occurs in animals such as cattle, sheep and goats but can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals.

Health Protection Scotland said it was not passed from person to person.

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