The death has triggered panic that a second pan-European outbreak of death and illness from the disease among heroin users could be on the cards.

A drug user was hospitalised in Scotland last month and officials are trying to establish whether the incidents are linked to a pan-European outbreak suspected of being caused by a contaminated batch of heroin.

An outbreak in 2009-10, mainly in Scotland, was a rarity considering that only one previous case had been reported in Norway in 2000.

During the last outbreak, 14 out of 119 confirmed cases in Scotland ended in death. There were a further five confirmed cases in England, resulting in four deaths – one of them in Blackpool.

Anthrax is a serious bacterial infection (pictured) that mostly occurs in wild and domestic animals in Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. It can be cured with antibiotics if caught early.

Although the cases have not yet been officially linked, European health experts have suggested the most recent cases could have come from the same batch of contaminated heroin that sparked the first outbreak.

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