Tattoo Ink Causes Infections


A common bacteria linked to tattoo ink was responsible for a recent outbreak of skin infections, according to recent investigation into an outbreak of infections in 19 people in Rochester, N.Y., where customers had rashes on their tattoos.
Health officials report seeing more cases of a nasty skin infection caused by bacteria. There have been 22 confirmed cases and more than 30 suspected cases of the skin infection in Colorado, Iowa, New York and Washington state in the past year, health officials said. The infections were caused ink or water used to dilute it, according to a recent article on Fox News Latino.
More people are getting tattoos, and polls show that about 20 percent of American adults have at least one. Hepatitis, staph infections and MRSA have been blamed on tattoos. Dirty needles and unsanitary conditions are often the cause.
The cases in New York were linked to an  artist who wore disposable gloves and sterilized his tools. The problem was the ink. The illnesses were caused by a bacterial cousin of tuberculosis named Mycobacterium chelonae, which can cause itchy, painful blisters that take months to heal with powerful antibiotics.
The bacteria are common in tap water, and have been seen when artists use contaminated water to dilute dark ink, or a “grey wash.” The ink used in New York was “gray wash,” used for shaded areas of tattoos. The ink was recalled and has not returned to the market.
Some ink manufacturers add witch hazel or an alcohol preservative to lower risk of certain viruses, but those additives don’t kill off the hardy chelonae bacteria, according to the article.
Photo (c) Stock Xchng