There Is A Risk Of Hepatitis C From Amateur Tattoos

Risk of hepatitis C from amateur tattoos is a real concern.

There are between 75 percent and 85 percent of people infected with hepatitis C who develop chronic infection, which can eventually cause serious liver diseases like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer.

There are an estimated 3.2 million Americans who have chronic hepatitis C, about half of whom are unaware of it. (The initial infection most often causes no symptoms.)

Hepatitis C is passed through contact with infected blood. In the U.S., there are roughly 18,000 new infections each year, most of which occur when people who inject heroin and similar drugs share tainted needles or syringes.

Tattoo Infections Linked to New Bacteria

An investigation into skin lesions developed by two individuals after getting tattoos has concluded that both were infected with a bacteria not previously linked to the business.

The infections involved Mycobacterium haemophilum, which usually only strikes individuals with compromised immune systems.

In this instance, however, the patients, both from Seattle, developed rashes despite the fact that both had normal immune systems, a report on the investigation found.

The authors pointed out that tattooing is not considered a sterile procedure, is not regulated at the federal level and can be risky. And while the specific inks and colorings (pigments) commonly used to apply tattoos are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the rules usually apply only when cosmetics or color additives are involved.

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