Monday, August 27, 2012

FDA Issues Warning about Tattoos

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warnings hospital and physician providers to be  on the alert for hard-to-treat raised skin rashes resulting from contaminated tattoo inks after a nineteen person outbreak in New York.

News the outbreak was published in the 
 New England Journal of Medicine. Public health officials in Rochester, New York reported the problem first. Officials found that nearly twenty people who went to a tattoo parlor were infected with Mycobacterium chelonae infections after receiving tattoos from a single shop in that city last fall. Mycobacterium chelonae is a species of the phylum actinobacteria (Gram-positive bacteria with high guanine and cytosine content, one of the dominant phyla of all bacteria), belonging to the genus mycobacterium. Mycobacterium chelonae is a rapidly growing mycobacterium, that is found all throughout the environment including sewage and tap water. It can occasionally cause opportunistic infections of humans.

Public health officials were alerted to the problem by a local dermatologist who said one of his patients had first sought care for the rash on his arm through another physician, who treated him unsuccessfully with a corticosteroid, and then referred him. The dermatologist did a skin biopsy to determine the infection.