Published Date: 2012-07-31 16:08:31
Subject: PRO/AH> Anthrax, human - UK (03): (Scotland) HPS briefing docs.
Archive Number: 20120731.1223145
ANTHRAX, HUMAN - UK (03): (SCOTLAND), BRIEFING DOCUMENTS
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 30 Jul 2012
Source: Health Protection Scotland [edited]
Anthrax contaminated heroin: resources for drug users and drug workers:
The Scottish Drugs Forum has published revised resources following the recent case of anthrax in Scotland, and these are available from their website; the resources include:
- Anthrax and Heroin Users: What Workers Need to Know (283 Kb Adobe PDF Icon).
- Anthrax Alert information for drug users - Poster (738 Kb Adobe PDF Icon)
- Anthrax Alert information for drug users - Leaflet (977 Kb Adobe PDF Icon)
These resources have been updated since they were 1st used during the 2009-2010 outbreak of anthrax associated with drug use.
[These are very valuable resources for those faced by this recent drug challenge.
I recently had a query concerning how the anthrax spores survived the flame heating prior to injection. I asked Colin Ramsay <email@example.com>, Consultant Epidemiologist, Health Protection Scotland, who replied as follows: "The evidence from the anthrax and preceding _Clostridium novii_ outbreaks, together with other occasional clostridia cases in injecting drug users, suggests that conventional flame heating is unreliable as a means of eliminating spores. Heating using a flame is apparently unlikely to achieve consistent temperatures sufficient to destroy the spores, and prolonged heating is generally avoided, since it may result in degradation of the solution, the aim being to avoid ending up with a black, sticky residue from prolonged heating. Drug users also conventionally use citric acid or lemon juice to help dissolve the heroin, yet spores apparently resist this acidic solution as well as heating. A variety of filters are also used by injectors, e.g. filters from cigarettes, but these apparently do not prevent spore exposure either."
There were some references in the OCT report on this aspect: http://www.documents.hps.scot.nhs.uk/giz/anthrax-outbreak/anthrax-outbreak-report-2011-12.pdf. The OCT report goes into it with marginally more information as well as other topics such as the possible origin of the earlier contamination. - Mod.MHJ
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1h2A.]