Published Date: 2012-07-05 02:52:16
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Anthrax - Germany (05)
Archive Number: 20120705.1190288
ANTHRAX - GERMANY (05)
A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 4 Jul 2012
From: Dimitrios Frangoulidis <DimitriosFrangoulidis@bundeswehr.org> [edited]
Further analysis beyond specific SNP-typing using 31 MLVA markers has confirmed the very close relationship of the 2 recent heroin associated _Bacillus anthracis_ isolates with the 2009/2010 Scotland/UK outbreak strain. In addition, antimicrobial susceptibility testing of both Bavarian isolates did not reveal resistance to any antibiotics that are usually recommended for specific chemotherapy of anthrax.
The following institutes are involved in this study: Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University Hospital of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany; Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority (LGL), Oberschleissheim, Germany; and Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Munich, Germany.
Dr.med. Dimitrios Frangoulidis, LtCol, MC, MD
Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology
[We are very grateful to Dr Frangoulidis and his colleagues for keeping us updated.
A serological study of German heroin addicts has shown an absence of previous exposures to _B. anthracis_: see Epidemiologisches Bulletin 26, 2 Jul 2012, pp. 241-248 at http://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt/EpidBull/Archiv/2012/Ausgaben/26_12.pdf?__blob=publicationFile.
The report noted that "the anthrax pathogen isolated from patients was not of a known genotype of _B. anthracis_ but that it most closely matches a Turkish strain originating from infected sheep. The exact source of contamination is still not known. Most heroin sold in Europe originates from Afghanistan and is imported via Turkey or Iran" [thanks to Sabine Zentis for the translation]. Speculation does not help much in explaining how Afghan raw heroin comes into contact with a Turkish sheep hide unless this strain also occurs in Afghanistan but awaits identification. It is said that the raw poppy sap is collected into sheep hide bags when transported out by the poppy farmers.
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at http://healthmap.org/r/1zJl. - Mod.MHJ]