Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Another anthrax case confirmed in Glasgow

Close up microscopic picture of the Anthrax virus
A further heroin user in Glasgow has tested positive for anthrax

A further heroin user in Glasgow has tested positive for anthrax.

The man is said to be responding well to treatment at Monklands District General Hospital in Lanarkshire.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said this took the total number of confirmed anthrax-linked cases to six, which included three people who have died.

The health board said they are continuing to investigate whether contaminated heroin or a contaminated cutting agent may be responsible.

A spokesman for the health board said that two other confirmed patients, continue to respond well to treatment.

They include a male at Glasgow's Victoria Infirmary and a male at Monklands District General Hospital in Lanarkshire.

The health board is awaiting confirmation of results on a seventh patient, a woman, who is being treated for the infection at the Southern General.

Extremely risky

Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Dr Syed Ahmed, said: "Drug injecting is extremely risky and dangerous.

"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.

"While this section of the community need to be on their guard the risk to the rest of the population - including close family members of the infected cases - is negligible.

"It is extremely rare for anthrax to be spread from person to person and there is no significant risk of airborne transmission from one person to another."

"As part of ongoing inquiries, any drug injecting heroin users who present with serious soft tissue infections now or during the last four weeks is being investigated".

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