Anthrax Investigation in Kent

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) can confirm that the patient being treated for anthrax infection in a Kent hospital died this afternoon.

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Dr Mathi Chandrakumar, Director of Kent Health Protection Unit, said: "This is a sad outcome but I would like to repeat that there is no risk to the general population, including close family members of the patient. It is extremely unlikely that this form of anthrax can spread from person to person.”
He added that this was a serious infection which now numbered among risks to drug users.
“We continue to see occasional cases among injecting drug users, following a cluster of cases earlier this year. Exposure to anthrax is now one of a number of risks that drug users are exposed to. All heroin users should seek urgent medical advice if they experience signs of infection such as redness or excessive swelling at or near an injection site, or other symptoms of general illness such a high temperature, chills or a severe headache or breathing difficulties, as early antibiotic treatment can be lifesaving.”

  1. Heroin users in Kent are strongly encouraged to find out more about the support services in their area. They can find drug services or seek advice from Talk to Frank: 24-hour helpline: 0800 77 66 00
  2. For local drug treatment services visit DAAT website local services section at 
  3. The Health Protection Agency has produced advice for injecting drug users and guidelines on the clinical evaluation and management of people with possible anthrax in England. These are available at:

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