Anthrax kills another drum maker
Anthrax spores from animal skins have killed another drum maker in the UK and health officials are now trying to assess just how dangerous drum making using traditional methods with animal skin materials actually is.
Anthrax can be caught by inhaling the spores and has been signaled up as a possible means of terror attacks with spores been sent in white powder to victims in the post.
A second drum maker in two years has died after apparently inhaling anthrax spores from animal skins. What are the risks of this seemingly safe job?
Fernando Gomez had been in intensive care for more than a week after handling animal skins at his drum-making workshop in London. But his condition deteriorated over the weekend and the 35-year-old died from inhalation anthrax on Sunday night.
Two years earlier, Christopher Norris, a craftsman from Scotland, died after inhaling anthrax. But are these cases a coincidence or a cause for alarm?
In the UK, the death of Mr Gomez is the second case in more than 30 years. Across the world, there are four other known cases since 1974 of drum makers dying from anthrax.
An East London studio was in quarantine today as investigators prepared to scour the workshop of a drum-maker who died yesterday after inhaling anthrax.
Fernando Gomez, 35, is thought to have contracted the disease from imported animal hides, which he used to make bongo drums. Health protection officials said that residents are not at risk from the disease, which is not contagious.
Mr Gomez died in Homerton Hospital in Hackney yesterday afternoon with his wife and four children by his side. He had been in intensive care for several days.
This morning neighbours paid tribute to a generous man who taught music to local children on the Morningside Estate in Hackney.