National alert: anthrax situation in the UK (Feb 2010)
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) and NHS Blackpool have confirmed yesterday that the death of an injecting heroin user in Blackpool was the result of anthrax.
This is the second case of anthrax seen in an injecting drug user in England, the first announced in London on 5 February. Since December 2009, there have been twenty one anthrax cases, including nine deaths, among both heroin injectors and smokers in Scotland. Similarities to the cases in Scotland and another death in Germany suggest that the heroin, or a contaminated cutting agent mixed with the heroin, is the likely source of anthrax infection among English IDUs.
Since December 2009, the NTA have worked closely with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the Department of Health (DH) to monitor this developing situation, and where appropriate have communicated with professionals working with drug users, via the NTA's nine regional teams.
The latest communication to NTA regional teams is available here.
The NTA encourages all heroin users and professionals working with heroin users, even if familiar with the HPA's advice about anthrax, to visit and regularly check the HPA anthrax mini-site.
Specific materials have been developed for users and professionals by the HPA and are available for download and distribution
The information leaflet and poster are aimed at heroin users; are available in both black and white and colour and are in a PowerPoint format so that they can be amended for local use. However, any factual or medical information should only be amended with care. The advice for drug workers provides brief explanation of how heroin users can become infected with anthrax, signs and symptoms of infection, and what workers can do to help.
- HPA anthrax leaflet black & white
- HPA anthrax leaflet colour
- HPA anthrax poster black & white
- HPA anthrax poster colour
- HPA advice for drug workers 11 02 10
Any updates will be posted on the HPA anthrax mini-site and the NTA website.
National advice: injecting drug users – anthrax (December 2009)
The Health Protection Agency hasissued the following advice about heroin:
Click here for the Health Protection Agency advice for injecting drug users about anthrax