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CDC - MMWR
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Skin Infections Among Tattoo Recipients --- Ohio, Kentucky, and Vermont, 2004--2005
June 23, 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 pustules (Figure) 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 way
- licensed tattooing is not a contributor to the spread of Meth-resistant S. aureus.
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 rates.
Tattooing using new needles, practicing universal precautions and using new gloves between customers is sufficient to protect the health of the community.