Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Buddha? Mycobacterial infection following tattoo

Annika Sullivan '12 is a co-author on a paper originating from the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland:
Happy Buddha? Kevin L. Winthrop; Cara D. Varley; Annika Sullivan; Robert S. Hopkins.  2012.  Clinical Infectious Diseases  54: 1670-1671.
Oberlin does not subscribe to this journal, but the publisher provided this link for limited number of free access views of the html version. The tattoo identified in the article as the origin of a mycobacterial infection depicts a joyful buddha in a standing pose, completed using a grey ink. The dye was created by mixing black tattoo ink with tap water, a common source of Mycobacterium chelonae.

The authors observed "Outbreaks associated with [Myccobacterium organisms] may occur when contaminated tap water is inappropriately used in surgical, cosmetic, or other procedures. Symptoms typically develop 2–3 weeks after exposure."

Today's lesson: when getting a tattoo, insist that purified water be used throughout the procedure.

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