Connecticut Man Contracts Anthrax From African Drum

A man in Connecticut has contracted cutaneous anthrax poisoning from African drums, officials said Wednesday.

Mayor Mark Boughton told The News-Times of Danbury that roads were closed around the victim's house in Danbury Wednesday. Information about the man was not released.

Marybeth Miklos, a spokeswoman for the FBI's New Haven field office, told The Associated Press that agents were notified of the situation, but that state public health officials were handling the investigation.

"We are aware of it, but as of right now it is not anything terrorism-related," she said.

Messages were left Wednesday for Boughton and a Department of Public Health official.

Cutaneous anthrax is not contagious and usually can be treated with antibiotics.

A similar case was reported in February 2006 when a 44-year-old Manhattan man contracted anthrax poisoning from handling African drums made with goat skin. The man collapsed after performing with his dance company in Pennsylvania and was hospitalized for weeks. He started experiencing flu-like symptoms in January after he traveled to Ivory Coast and brought back goat hides to make drums. Health officials believe he may have inhaled anthrax spores while making the instruments.

Inhalation anthrax infects the lungs and kills about 75 percent of those with such infections, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Cutaneous anthrax, the most common form, can cause reddening and swelling of the skin and responds well to antibiotics. There usually are only one to two cases per year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.