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Last Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Inquiry sought into anthrax death
Pascal Norris
A call has been made for an inquiry into Mr Norris's death
An MSP has called for a fatal accident inquiry to be held into the death of a Borders man last year from anthrax.

Christopher "Pascal" Norris was the first person to die in the UK from the disease in the past 30 years.

South of Scotland MSP Christine Grahame said an investigation into the case had taken too long and an inquiry would be in the public interest.

NHS Borders is to report on the case in December with a decision on whether to hold an inquiry due after that.

Mr Norris, of Stobs, near Hawick, died in July last year. Tests later confirmed anthrax as the most likely cause.

Christine Grahame
I believe the authorities are confident that they have taken all necessary steps to trace all those who may have come into contact with that source and no other individuals have been contaminated
Christine Grahame MSP

Ms Grahame has raised concerns with the solicitor general about how the incident was handled.

She is particularly concerned about the length of time it took to confirm the cause of death.

"The Crown Office is still to decide whether to bring a prosecution or proceed with an FAI, but from the evidence I have seen so far I think the public interest would be best served by the latter," she said

"I understand further that Mr Norris did not contract the anthrax spores from a contaminated badger pelt as has been reported or from a drum that he had made himself."

She said it appeared the anthrax came from an imported drum which released the spores when it was being played and which were then directly inhaled by Mr Norris.

Safety measures

"I believe the authorities are confident that they have taken all necessary steps to trace all those who may have come into contact with that source and no other individuals have been contaminated," she added.

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 has stressed that it cannot be passed from person to person.

SEE ALSO
Anthrax decontamination under way
06 Mar 07 |  South of Scotland
Anthrax house receives all clear
14 Dec 06 |  South of Scotland
Village anthrax find reassurances
20 Nov 06 |  South of Scotland
Anthrax discovery in village hall
17 Nov 06 |  South of Scotland
House sealed off in anthrax probe
01 Nov 06 |  South of Scotland
Discovery in Anthrax death probe
12 Oct 06 |  South of Scotland

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