Anthrax outbreak report
28 December 2011
Health Protection Scotland, on behalf of the National Anthrax Outbreak Control Team (NAOCT), have published a report into the outbreak of anthrax among injecting drug users which occurred in Scotland between December 2009 and December 2010.
This was the first documented outbreak associated with heroin use anywhere in the world, and proved to be the largest single common source outbreak of anthrax in humans in the UK in over 50 years.
The report describes the epidemiology of the outbreak, the investigations undertaken by the NAOCT and actions taken to manage the situation. The report also details lessons learned from the outbreak, from the challenges of diagnosis and clinical management of a new presentation of anthrax to managing effective communication with a hard to access vulnerable group of drug users.