Anthrax kills drummer

Drum maker dies in London hospital

The London drum maker who was hopitalised after contracting anthrax has died.

Fernando Gomez, 35, from Hackney in east London, had been in intensive care for several days but his condition deteriorated overnight and he died around lunchtime, the Homerton University Hospital said.

Health Protection Agency (HPA) staff have sealed off Mr Gomez's flat and are due to inspect his workshop in the coming week. Seven other people who had been in the room where the animal hides were prepared have been given antibiotics as a precaution.

Officials stress there is little risk to people playing animal hide drums, only those making them, and the UK has tough regulations on hide imports.

Anthrax is a highly contagious infection that usually only afflicts livestock, but can be transmitted to humans who handle or eat infected animals. Anthrax inhalation is very rare, and is not contagious.

The last death of this kind in the UK was in Scotland in 2006, when a 50-year-old Christopher Norris, who made artworks and instruments including drums, died after inhaling anthrax, reportedly from contaminated West African drum skins.

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