Outbreak report Open Access
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Clostridial infections in injecting drug users in the United Kingdom are a relatively new phenomenon that came to light in 2000 when cases of serious illness and deaths due to Clostridium novyi were recorded. In the period December 2003 to April 2004, the Anaerobe Reference Laboratory received twelve referrals of an extremely rare isolate, Clostridium histolyticum, from cases of infection in injecting drug users submitted from nine different hospitals in England and Scotland. Molecular typing of these isolates by two different methods of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and PCR ribotyping revealed they are all indistinguishable, indicating a common source of the infections, most probably a batch of heroin that was recently distributed across the UK.


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