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Probably ever since tattoo was introduced to the modern world there have been claims and incidents of people’s health and safety being compromised by tattoo. As we all know, the actual percentage of people who have become ill or suffered health related issues from unsanitary/unprofessional tattoos is small in comparison to the amount of people who don’t suffer any health issues at all. With the rise of tattoos popularity, paranoia and fear of getting the tattoo that could kill you has been very much on the decline.
Now however, a new bacterial infection that is rare and hard to treat has turned up in recently tattooed people in Seattle. This isn’t really the sort of news story that anyone wants breaking just days before Seattle’s 10th anniversary Tattoo Expo, but unfortunately, the story has officially hit the media.
‘A rare but difficult-to-treat bacterial infection that usually strikes people with impaired immune systems is showing up for the first time in healthy individuals getting tattoos, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.
Two cases of skin infections caused by this bacterium, called Mycobacterium haemophilum, have occurred in individuals receiving tattoos in the Seattle area, the CDC said.
These bacteria are in the same family as those that cause tuberculosis and leprosy. Symptoms of the infection include small bumps at the site of infection, in addition to redness, pain, swelling and discharge, the researchers said.’
Before anyone gets all up and arms about this, we should all be aware that this is very rare and it isn’t going to kill anyone. The suspicion is that it’s coming from the water used to dilute the ink, water which came from a tap and wasn’t sterilised or distilled. So yes, there is a risk so far in Seattle, but only a very, very, very small one and any tattooist who is using sterilised or distilled water instead of tap water should be just fine. If you live in Seattle or plan on getting tattooed there this weekend, just ask your artist what sort of water he or she is using. Beyond that, everything will be just fine.