A Decade of Spore-Forming Bacterial Infections Among European Injecting Drug Users: Pronounced Regional Variation

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The recent anthrax outbreak among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Europe has highlighted an ongoing problem with severe illness resulting from spore-forming bacteria in IDUs. We collated the numbers of cases of 4 bacterial illnesses (botulism, tetanus, Clostridium novyi, and anthrax) in European IDUs for 2000 to 2009 and calculated population rates. Six countries reported 367 cases; rates varied from 0.03 to 7.54 per million people. Most cases (92%) were reported from 3 neighboring countries: Ireland, Norway, and the United Kingdom. This geographic variation needs investigation.

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