Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 22 August 2006 Issue - Introducing Adela
BONGOS GIVE MAN ANTHRAX
The most common of the three human forms is cutaneous anthrax which is picked up on animal hides - it accounts for 95 per cent of cases. It causes blisters and is treated with antibiotics. Pulmonary anthrax is much less common and creates flu-like symptoms. Untreated it is almost always fatal. Intestinal anthrax is caused by eating contaminated meat and is usually fatal.
AN artist who made bongo drums with imported animal skins died of anthrax, health officials revealed yesterday.
Self-employed Christopher Norris, 50, is the first victim of the disease in the UK for 32 years.
And last night health authorities said others were still at risk - as they quarantined and boarded up Mr. Norris's home. Family and friends who have been in recent contact or visited the house in the Scottish Borders were being interviewed.
Ten people are being given medical treatment "as a precaution". Health
officials are trying to trace another 20.
It is feared Mr. Norris picked up anthrax from animal hide he used to make
A Health Protection Scotland spokesman said: "His home has been sealed and is being investigated for risk of anthrax spores in the environment.
"Anyone who visited it after July 17 should contact the NHS. If they experience flu-like symptoms, dry cough or unusual skin lesions they
should seek further medical advice."
Mr. Norris, a gifted craftsman known as Pascal, fell ill last month. He died
on July 8 in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after developing septicaemia. Family and friends had no inkling of anthrax and held a wake at his home on
The house has a workshop where he made musical instruments and other artifacts with materials including imported hides. His ashes were scattered there at another get-together on July 29.
Meanwhile doctors concerned at how Mr. Norris's illness developed sent samples for testing at labs at Porton Down in Wiltshire.
On August 11 they were told his death had been caused by the rare pulmonary anthrax which he had contracted by inhaling spores.
Health officials later decided to go public because they wanted to trace
everyone who had been in Mr. Norris's home recently. NHS Borders medical chief Ross Cameron said: "Immediate action has been taken and the property secured. "There is no risk to the general public because there is no personal transmission of the disease."
The 10 being treated had all been in the house in the past six weeks and were being given antibiotics. None have reported symptoms which could indicate infection.
One of them is a close personal friend who spent time at the dying man's hospital bedside. The others are understood to have been at the wake at his home.
The last human death from anthrax in the UK was in 1974. Leading
bacteriologist Prof Hugh Pennington said: "It is very rare for people to get infected."
But he added: "If this man was working with imported animal hides that had
anthrax, then that makes sense. The spores could have been on the skin and he could have breathed them in."
Mr. Norris, a Buddhist who beat leukemia four years ago, is survived by his
mother and brother. He lived on his own in his isolated cottage at Stobs, near Hawick in Roxburghshire.
Neighbour Jenny Mutch said: "He was a man in the prime of life and very fit. "He was talented and modest with a very sweet nature and was just a
genuinely nice person. "Everyone was really devastated when they heard."
Last night a police van was outside the house and officers were stopping
people going in.
ANTHRAX is a bacterial infection which occurs most commonly in wild and
domestic animals in Asia, Africa and parts of Europe.
Humans are rarely infected but spores can survive in the environment for
many years. The most common of the three human forms is cutaneous anthrax which is picked up on animal hides - it accounts for 95 per cent of cases.
It causes blisters and is treated with antibiotics. Pulmonary anthrax is much less common and creates flu-like symptoms. Untreated it is almost always fatal.
Intestinal anthrax is caused by eating contaminated meat and is usually
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