Exposure to Hides/Drums
The risk of developing anthrax from handling an animal hide drum is considered to be very low. However, there have been cases of people getting sick with anthrax after handling animal hide drums in the United States and other parts of the world.
The first documented case of anthrax linked to a hide drum in the United States was in Florida in 1974. A single case of cutaneous anthrax was associated with a goat hide bongo drum purchased in Haiti, where anthrax is common.
Another fatal case of inhalation anthrax occurred in Scotland in 2006. The patient, who may have had increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, became sick as a result of using or handling contaminated hide drums from West Africa.
The risk of being exposed to anthrax spores by attending drumming events is also considered to be very low. While a recent case of gastrointestinal anthrax was identified in a person who attended an indoor drumming event, this case is still currently under investigation and the way the person became infected with anthrax has not been determined.
If you are an animal hide drum owner or player, or if you recently attended a drumming event and are experiencing any symptoms that resemble anthrax, you should get medical care as soon as possible. It is important to talk to your provider about any recent contact you’ve had with animal hide drums.
There is no risk linked to handling the hides of healthy animals, or drums made from the hides of healthy animals. Hides from countries where anthrax is common may pose a higher risk of exposure to anthrax than hides originating from the United States.