Deadly bacteria linked to IV drug use, Mexican black tar heroin

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 21 Jul 1999 18:23:53 -0700 (PDT)


http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/US/AP19990618_53.html
FWD  Associated Press News Service - June 18, 1999

     DEADLY BACTERIA LINKED TO INTRAVENOUS DRUG USE
                        
     AP News Service

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Two roommates died of a virulent bacterial
infection after injecting Mexican black tar heroin, and health
officials warned other intravenous drug users to look out for signs
of illness.

   Stacy Quijas, 28, died early Thursday after four surgeries
failed to stop the infection, doctors said. Her 32-year-old
roommate, who had shared needles with her, died June 6.

   A homeless man and a third female roommate of the women who died
were hospitalized with the infection, health department officials
said.

   The bacteria suspected in the deaths is Clostridium perfringens
and produces toxins that degrade human tissue, according to Dr.
Herminia Palacio of the city's Department of Health.

   Officials warned injection drug users, particularly those who
use black tar heroin or methamphetamine, to seek immediate medical
help if they develop swelling, redness, warmth, pain or tenderness
at or near an injection site.

   The infection can only be spread through broken skin.

   The last such outbreak in San Francisco occurred in 1996, when
three people died.

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