• Sweden edition
Sweden warns heroin users after anthrax death

Sweden warns heroin users after anthrax death

Published: 09 Jul 2012 14:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Jul 2012 14:56 GMT+02:00

The warning, issued Monday by communicable disease control officials in Skåne in southern Sweden comes following the death of a 55-year-old Danish heroin user at a hospital in Copenhagen.

"Copenhagen and Malmö are very close so after the death in Denmark, we thought it best to warn heroin users here about the possible risks," Håkan Ringberg, an infectious disease doctor with Smittskydd Skåne, told The Local.

The Danish drug user died on Sunday after being treated for several days in a Copenhagen hospital. Traces of anthrax were subsequently found in the man's blood.

According to Ringberg, the infection can't spread between people and the warning is directed primarily at heroin users who inject the drug.

"The risk of infection [from anthrax] comes when one injects heroin," he said, adding his agency estimates there are "thousands" of heroin users in Sweden.

"We're advising users not to take heroin intravenously."

He also credited needle exchange programmes in southern Sweden for helping health authorities spread the word among users, but added that there are no signs as of yet that any anthrax-contaminated heroin has made its way to Sweden.

Earlier in the summer, there were three cases of anthrax in Germany, which was in turn connected to an earlier outbreak in Great Britain in 2010.

However, no connection has been found to tie the cases in Germany to the recent anthrax death in Denmark.

"Nothing has been established for sure. At this point, it's still a theory, but we are warning users nonetheless," said Ringberg.

Meanwhile, Swedish health authorities continue to maintain close contact with health officials in Denmark.

"We've had contact with our counterparts in Denmark and been informed of their continuing work to trace the contagion," Sofie Ivarsson, an epidemiologist with the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (Statens smittskyddsinstitut – SMI), told the TT news agency.

Swedish health officials have been on heightened alert since anthrax cases in German and as an on-call emergency lab standing by should any suspected anthrax cases be reported in Sweden.

David Landes/TT

Follow David Landes on Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:12 July 9, 2012 by cbgbg
Nobody becomes a junkie on purpose. It´s about time that metadon (even though it´s more addictive) is used in treatment to stop deaths and crime so that a more normal life can be lived
20:27 July 9, 2012 by Bender B Rodriquez
Methadone has been used the last 40 years in Sweden, so I have no clue what you mean by "It's about time"....
20:41 July 9, 2012 by cbgbg
Yes, it´s been used for the last 40 years but who the hell gets help with methadone or subetrex. Nobody. People are begging for help but do not get it . So get your facts right not from some poxy governmental survey but from people who suffer .
23:37 July 9, 2012 by Dazzler
"Nobody becomes a junkie on purpose."

That is just wrong and stupid. You know what you signed up for when you slammed a needle in your arm. I have zero pity for people of this caliber and even less patience. Get on with it and overdose.
00:11 July 10, 2012 by diegoveggie
sweden should warn heroin users about... heroin
16:51 July 11, 2012 by cbgbg

I really hope that your children or grandchildren never become junkies. I agree nobody is forced but it´s bloody difficult to give it up. So i really hope in the future that you don´t have to say to a member in your family "Get on with it and overdose"
17:42 July 17, 2012 by Achilles7
Why does society have so much sympathy for drug addicts? We must try to help them, they need support, they shouldn't be judged, etc. You become a drug addict because you deliberately, and selfishly, decide to start taking them in the first place. It's nobody's fault but your own.
Today's headlines
Elections 2014
Reinfeldt better at handling a crisis: Poll

Reinfeldt better at handling a crisis: Poll

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's hopes for remaining in office has been given a boost after more Swedes said they had greater faith in him handling a crisis compared to election rival Stefan Löfven. READ  

Gaza & Robin Williams: Swedes' Google habits
Actor Robin Williams. Photo: AP

Gaza & Robin Williams: Swedes' Google habits

The internet search giant has revealed what Swedes googled for most over the summer period with the top 10 made up of diverse search topics ranging from sport to wasp stings READ  

Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons

A man in central Sweden was sentenced to prison for aggravated assault on Friday after doctors noticed that both his twin sons had sustained serious and unexplained injuries. READ  

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Clocking in. File photo: Shutterstock

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial

Officials finalized plans on Friday for the "Gothenburg guinea pigs" who will test out the six-hour workday, a move it's hoped will cut down on sick leave, boost efficiency, and ultimately save Sweden money. READ  

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job
Photo: Gunnar Lundmark/TT

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job

Three Swedish soldiers risk prison after they were found to be drunk while guarding Stockholm's Royal Palace. The men, who were all armed at the time, were charged on Friday. READ  

What do the Swedes do when summer's over?
Photo: Isabela Vrba

What do the Swedes do when summer's over?

The heatwave is well and truly over, the days are getting shorter, and winter is coming. With this in mind, The Local's Isabela Vrba chatted to ten Stockholmers about how they plan to tackle the autumn. READ  

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend

Swedes are spending more than ever on makeup - and a growing chunk is going directly to their fingernails, new figures showed on Friday. READ  

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops
The pharmacy section of a grocery store. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops

After a drastic increase in the number of paracetamol poisonings in Sweden, authorities have said the drug should only be available in pharmacies. READ  

Listeria fears prompt meat recall in Sweden
File photo: Andreas Hagerman/Flickr

Listeria fears prompt meat recall in Sweden

After finding traces of listeria in ham sold in Sweden, food companies decided on Friday to recall several Danish cold cuts. READ  

Sweden Floods
More rain expected as floods hit day four
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

More rain expected as floods hit day four

UPDATED: Sweden's floods showed no signs of abating over Thursday night, with highways closed, emergency teams working overtime, and more rain on the way. READ  

'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Sweden elections: How do they work?
People-watching August 20th
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »


17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
'Assange will not leave until safe'
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
People-watching August 16-17
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Top ten literal Swedish words
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Kiruna residents talk life in a town on the move
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: