Strange ways to contract rare diseases

The Body Horrors blog has a new recurring series called Microbial Misadventures — all about times when people met disease-causing microbes under less-than-normal circumstances. It starts with an interesting question: Given the fact that most anthrax infections come from eating tainted meat, how did a vegetarian end up with the disease in 2009? Two-word hint: Drum circle.


  1. Huh.  I remember the drum thing: in fact, I’d thought that most cases of anthrax derived from dermal contact.

  2. Being a hippie can be hazardous to your health.  Yoga mats are a notorious source of MRSA.

  3. Interesting article. Less snark about hippies and more information about how to disinfect a drum head would have made it better.

    1. Hey Lefty68, Body Horrors here. If you scroll down to my Resources section at the end of the article, there is a very handy fact-sheet from the CDC for percussionists and drum makers on how to deal with drums made of animal hides. 

      Though I have to agree with Nick, you should just burn them: the spores are nearly indestructible and make the drums nearly impossible to disinfect. Find more info from the CDC here:

  4. Actually, the article doesn’t say that most anthrax infections come from eating tainted meat; it says that most GASTROINTESTINAL infections come from tainted meat. “Inhalational and cutaneous infection are much more common” than gastrointestinal infections.

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