31/10/2008

Drum Maker Treated For Anthrax Inhalation

An east-London drum maker is in intensive care after inhaling anthrax spores while handling imported animal skins.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) confirmed the man came into contact with the animal hides at his workshop in Hackney and his flat has been sealed off for examination.

As part of the investigation to identify where the anthrax originated from, the Agency will be carrying out tests at the workshop next week.

Seven other people who may have been in contact with the hides have been treated with antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

Professor Nigel Lightfoot, the HPA's Chief Adviser, said: "We have stressed to all residents throughout this incident that there is no risk to their health as a result of the case of anthrax, or the testing that will be carried out.

"The patient's property is currently secured and there is no-one living there."

He added: "It is important to stress that it is the making of animal skin drums that is the risk for coming into contact with anthrax rather than playing or handling drums."

A spokesman for Homerton University Hospital, in east London, confirmed the man is a patient in its intensive care unit.

(JM)

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