Bongo-maker fights for his life after getting anthrax from African drum skins

By | October 30, 2008

A musician is fighting for his life after contracting a rare form of deadly anthrax.

Fernando Gomez fell ill after handling animal hide imported from Africa which he used to make bongo drums. He is only the second person in the UK to be infected with inhalation anthrax since 1974. He was admitted to hospital a week ago and is on life support.

Seven people who have been in contact with Mr Gomez, a father of four who is in his thirties, have been given antibiotics as a precaution. Last night, his wife said: ‘The illness started to show when he had a cold but then he got worse and worse. ‘Even now he might still not pull through, but I’ve been told today that he is now stable.’ The illness is so rare that medicines have been flown to Britain for him from the U.S.

… Professor Nigel Lightfoot, chief adviser at the agency, said: ‘It is the process of removing the animal hairs during the making of drums that can put people at risk rather than playing or handling the drums. ‘The risk to others who play these drums is very low. We are, however, keen to reiterate to all individuals who make drums from imported animal skins that there is a risk of coming into contact with anthrax.’ The last case of inhalation anthrax in the UK, in 2006, was fatal. Christopher Norris, 50, from Edinburgh, also contracted the disease after handling animal skins to make drums. – dm

Comment:

Yet another case of animal exploitation which has backfired on the perpetrator.
– Karyn, Belfast, 30/10/2008 17:36

Interesting. I didn’t know the British had tested anthrax as a weapon.

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