Spread of Deadly Bacteria Linked to Tattoos

August 11, 2011

From television shows focusing on the everyday occurrences at tattoo parlors to celebrities’ proud displays of their inked up bodies, tattoos have become a part of today’s popular culture. Many people are naïve about the precautions that should be taken to prevent the spread of disease or infections through tattooing. Because getting a tattoo is essentially a minor medical procedure, the same precautions that are taken in the hospital should be followed at tattoo parlors.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released an article yesterday warning the public of the dangers of communicable infections and diseases associated with tattooing. The item included the story of two Seattle, Washington men who were infected by Mycobacterium haemophilum, the same bacteria that causes tuberculosis, in the area surrounding their new tattoos. As a result of the infection, the men suffered from persistent rashes, lumps and pustules in the infected area. Initial treatment with oral antibiotics was ineffective, and the bacteria was only identified after additional tests and repeated failed treatments. The infection was traced back to a tattoo parlor where the artist had used tap water to dilute ink. No industry standard exists for diluting ink.

Always ask a tattoo artist to demonstrate their sterilization process before having work done–it may save you from one of many blood-borne diseases, such as Hepatitis and HIV, that can be spread through tattooing.

The North Carolina Medical Malpractice Attorneys with HensonFuerst may be able to help you if your new tattoo caused you to suffer illness or an infection. Contact them for a free evaluation of your case.

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