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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 11:05 GMT
Anthrax house receives all clear
Pascal Norris
No traces of anthrax have been found at Mr Norris's home
Experts examining the home of a Borders man thought to have died from anthrax have found no trace of the disease.

NHS Borders has confirmed that samples taken from the Black Lodge home of Christopher "Pascal" Norris near Hawick have come back all clear.

It said the property would be able to be returned to normal use.

Minute traces of anthrax have been found in other properties during the investigation. These sites are expected to be decontaminated in early 2007.

No evidence of anthrax spores was found anywhere within the house, grounds or out-buildings at Black Lodge.

Investigation extended

Investigations started on the property in August after anthrax was confirmed as the likely cause of Mr Norris's death.

Due to his work making African drums the examinations were extended to include imported animal skins and drums.

This resulted in minute traces of anthrax being found at properties in Northumberland and the Borders - including Smailholm village hall.

Health experts confirmed that planning was now under way to decontaminate the buildings involved.

"It is anticipated that this will take place early in the new year of 2007," confirmed an NHS Borders statement.

Expert advice remains that the risk to anyone who attended drumming classes, handled the drums or visited the properties is "extremely low".

Decontamination is planned at properties where spores were found

Letters have been sent to the 170 people contacted during the incident to update them on the situation.

They have also been asked to provide feedback on aspects of their involvement in the investigation.

Dr Andrew Riley, director of public health at NHS Borders, said there were still aspects of the incident to be examined.

"It is important to point out that investigations are ongoing and we are co-operating fully with the procurator fiscal and when enquiries are complete, a full incident report will be produced," he said.

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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