The anthrax outbreak among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Europe has highlighted an ongoing problem with severe illness due to spore-forming bacteria in IDUs. The numbers of cases of four bacterial illnesses (botulism, tetanus, Clostridium novyi, and anthrax) in European IDUs were collated for 2000 to 2009, and population rates calculated. Six countries reported 367 cases; rates varied from 0.03 to 7.54 per million people. Most (92%) were reported from three neighbouring countries: Ireland, Norway and United Kingdom. This geographic variation needs investigation.
- spore-forming bacteria
- geographic variation