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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 17:50 GMT
Anthrax death inquiry to be held
Pascal Norris
Mr Norris died as a result of anthrax inhalation in July 2006

A fatal accident inquiry is to be held into the death of a man from anthrax.

Christopher "Pascal" Norris, of Stobs, near Hawick in the Scottish Borders, died from the disease in July 2006.

Last year, an NHS Borders report said that "on balance of probabilities" he had contracted it from playing or handling West African drums.

The decision to hold an FAI was confirmed by Frank Mulholland QC to MSP Christine Grahame in answer to a question in the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Grahame has campaigned for some time for an inquiry into the death.

"The concerns that I and other members share is the death of Mr Norris highlighted how ill-prepared the authorities apparently were to deal with a public health risk," she said.

"So I hope this is an area which the FAI will examine in detail and hopefully make recommendations to ensure that next time we are better prepared."

The SNP MSP added that any lessons which might be learned from the incident in the Borders could also "offer some comfort" to Mr Norris' friends and family.

Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale Lib Dem MSP Jeremy Purvis also welcomed the FAI which he said should look at the reaction of all agencies to the incident.

No timescale

He described attacks on how health services handled matters as "premature".

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office confirmed it would be holding the inquiry.

However, she added that it was too early to set out a timescale for the process.

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.

Man caught anthrax from drum skin
13 Dec 07 |  South of Scotland
Inquiry sought into anthrax death
26 Oct 07 |  South of Scotland
Anthrax hall receives all-clear
17 Apr 07 |  South of Scotland
Anthrax house receives all clear
14 Dec 06 |  South of Scotland


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