Gangrene bug “killed 35 heroin users”BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7251.1690 (Published 24 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1690
- Bryan Christie
The likely cause of an infection that has killed 35 injecting heroin users in Britain and Ireland in recent weeks has been identified as Clostridium novyi type A, a bacterium previously associated only with serious infection during wartime.
An international effort to locate the source of the infection has isolated the bacterium from nine infected drug users in Glasgow, and, although other cases are still being investigated, scientists are confident that they have now traced the cause of the deaths.
C novyi type A is present in soil and dust and is a well recognised cause of infection in sheep, cattle, and other animals. It …