Tattoo ink found to be source of M. chelonae outbreak

(HealthDay)—Premixed tattoo ink has been found to be the source of an outbreak of Mycobacterium chelonae in 19 patients in Rochester, N.Y., according to a study published online Aug. 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Byron S. Kennedy, M.D., Ph.D., from the Monroe County Department of Public Health in Rochester, N.Y., and colleagues analyzed data from patient interviews and conducted histopathological testing of skin-biopsy specimens with acid-fast bacilli smears and microbial cultures. DNA sequencing was performed as well as cultures of the ink and ingredients used in the preparation and packaging of ink. Tattoo parlor water and faucets were also assessed.

The researchers found that a persistent, raised erythematous rash developed in the tattoo area of 19 people (13 men and six women; average age, 35 years) within three weeks of receiving a tattoo from a single artist who used premixed gray ink. Abnormalities in skin-biopsy specimens were present in all 17 patients biopsied. Mycobacterium chelonae was found in 14 patients and confirmed with DNA sequencing. With appropriate , the condition improved in 18 of the 19 patients.

"The premixed ink was the common source of infection in this ," the authors write.

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

Tattoos linked to rare skin infection in US

Aug 10, 2011

At least two men may have come down with a rare bacterial skin infection that is hard to treat with antibiotics after getting tattoos at a store in Seattle, US health authorities said Wednesday.

New ink makes tattoos less permanent

Dec 30, 2006

Scientists at two U.S. universities developed a solution to make tattoos less permanent -- an ink that can be removed with a single laser treatment.

How tattoos 'move' with age

Apr 28, 2011

The dyes which are injected into the skin to create tattoos move with time – permanently altering the look of a given design. In this month’s Mathematics Today Dr Ian Eames, a Reader in Fluid Mechanics ...

Chemicals in tattoo inks need closer scrutiny

Mar 14, 2005

As tattoos have grown in popularity, so have complaints of adverse side effects associated with both their application and removal. A new study, done by chemistry students at Northern Arizona University, looked at the chemical ...

Nokia feels out haptic feedback tattoo system for phones

Mar 20, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nokia, the Finnish smartphone maker, has filed a patent for a haptic communication system where tattoos will send you vibrations so you know who is calling. Your ferromagnetic ink tattoo would ...

Recommended for you

Cell's recycling center implicated in division decisions

2 hours ago

Most cells do not divide unless there is enough oxygen present to support their offspring, but certain cancer cells and other cell types circumvent this rule. Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University have now identified ...

User comments