CDC - MMWR
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Skin Infections Among Tattoo Recipients --- Ohio, Kentucky, and Vermont,
2006 / 55(24);677-679
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(CA-MRSA) infections have emerged as a major cause of skin disease in the
United States (1). Outbreaks of CA-MRSA have occurred among athletes,
inmates at correctional facilities, and military recruits.
Most infections were mild to moderate, ranging from cellulitis and small
to larger abscesses that required surgical incision and drainage (n = 20).
Most infections improved with surgical drainage (n = 16) and/or oral
antimicrobials (n = 24), including trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole,
levofloxacin, and clindamycin. Four patients had bacteremia and required
hospitalization for intravenous vancomycin.
...34 patients with primary MRSA identified a total of 13 unlicensed
tattooists. Investigations were performed by local health departments in
coordination with law enforcement officials; seven tattooists who could be
located were interviewed. Although gloves were reportedly worn by all
tattooists in four of the six clusters (defined by spatial and temporal
relationships), adherence to other infection-control measures (e.g.,
changing gloves between clients and performing appropriate hand hygiene,
skin antisepsis, and disinfection of equipment and surfaces) was not
practiced. Investigators determined that three of the tattooists in Ohio had
recently been incarcerated in correctional facilities, a potential site for
exposure to MRSA infection (4).
However, none of the tattooists from Kentucky or Vermont reported previous
incarceration. None of the 34 persons with primary cases were incarcerated
when they received their tattoos. Five patients reported seeing lesions on
the hands of tattooists that were consistent in description with MRSA skin
infection, and one tattooist reported a pustule on his finger; however, no
specimens from tattooists were cultured. All 13 primary patients in the
first of the four Ohio clusters reported receiving their tattoos in public
places (e.g., parks or private residences) from tattooists who used homemade
tattooing equipment consisting of guitar-string tattoo needles and computer
ink-jet printer cartridges for dye.
So the news is good for licensed shops and professionals if your read it that
- licensed tattooing is not a contributor to the spread of Meth-resistant S.
As the then
NYC Commissioner of Health (1997 during NYC tattoo legalization proceedings) Dr,
Benjamin Mojica testified before the NYCity Council: using new needles,
practicing universal precautions and using new gloves between customers is
sufficient to protect the health of the public. Regulations having to do
with the premises is a waste of tax payer money which will not reduce infection
using new needles, practicing universal precautions and using new gloves between
customers is sufficient to protect the health of the community.
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