I am thinking of getting a tabla but my wife tells me she heard of someone who bought an African goatskin drum a few years ago and got anthrax from it. I improvised and told her that it was probably a very primitive folk instrument and that in India tabla making is a refined art and the skin they use is always properly tanned. Does anyone have any additional ideas for debunking her theory of tabla playing being bad for your health?
How long does anthrax live? Tell her itd die on its journey from India. If all else fails, tell her youd rather get anthrax than not play the tabla. Also tell her you wouldnt be ordering it straight from India, itd pass through the hands of Peter Cutchey first, and we all know hes in good shape.
In David Courtney's latest book, he goes into the concepts of disease related to working with animal products. I'd say that the person at greatest risk is the person working with the recently killed animal and fresh hides. By the time the tabla reaches you, probably most bacteria are dead.
I think that if there were a serious risk of disease transmission, then the customs officers would not let such products enter the country.
In my 20 years as a percussionist in North America, I have never heard of anyone getting sick from a drum skin.