Anthrax outbreak among drug users in UK and Germany - ECDC update 18 May 2010
As of 18 May 2010, the total number of cases of anthrax among heroin users in EU since December 2009 is 45 cases, including 16 deaths.
In Scotland, 40 cases of anthrax infection have been confirmed since the beginning of December 2009 among heroin users, including 13 fatal cases; the latest case was reported on 18 May. Cases in Scotland have occurred in the NHS board areas of Ayrshire & Arran (1 case, alive), Dumfries & Galloway (6 case, alive), Fife (3 cases with 1 death), Forth Valley (1 case with 1 death), Greater Glasgow and Clyde area (16 cases with 7 deaths), Lanarkshire (7 cases with 2 deaths), Lothian (2 cases, alive),Tayside (4 cases with 2 deaths). Health Protection Scotland is regularly updating the information on their website.
The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) is regularly updating the information for England. The number of cases has not changed since the last ECDC update of 16 April 2010. There are 3 confirmed case of anthrax among injecting heroin users, of which 2 are reported from HPA London region (1 death) and 1 in HPA North West Region (1 death).
In Germany there have been no further cases reported since 31 March 2010, with 2 cases of anthrax in injecting drug users to date, including one death. More information on these cases can be found on The Robert Koch Institute website or in the 16 April ECDC update.
The conclusions from the ECDC/EMCDDA threat assessment updated on 12 February 2010 are still valid, and available at:
Anthrax outbreak among drug users, Scotland and Germany, Joint ECDC and EMCDDA threat assessment (update 12 February 2010)