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Ever Wondered What An Infected Tattoo Can Do? [Extreme Video]

Tempted to get a tattoo? Today, people from all walks of life have tattoos, which might lead you ...

Ever Wondered What An Infected Tattoo Can Do?

Tempted to get a tattoo? Today, people from all walks of life have tattoos, which might lead you to believe that tattoos are completely safe.

But there are health risks that can result in the need for medical care. These can include a reaction to the ink or ink pigments or an infection. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is particularly concerned about infections with a family of bacteria called non-tuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) that has been found in recent outbreaks of illnesses linked to contaminated tattoo inks.

M. chelonae, one of several disease-causing NTM species, can cause infections of skin, joints, lungs, and other organs, as well as eye problems. These infections can be difficult to diagnose and can require treatment lasting six months or more.

Ever Wondered What An Infected Tattoo Can Do?

“Contaminated inks have caused serious infections in at least four states in late 2011 and early 2012,” says Pamela LeBlanc, M.P.H., of FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network. FDA is reaching out to tattoo artists, ink and pigment manufacturers, public health officials, health care professionals, and consumers to warn them of the potential for infection.

Ever Wondered What An Infected Tattoo Can Do?

FDA warns that tattoo inks can become contaminated by NTM and several other types of bacteria, mold and fungi. To raise awareness and ensure that diagnoses are accurate, FDA strongly encourages reporting of tattoo-associated complications to your health care professional and FDA’s MedWatch program, says Linda Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director of FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors.

Getting the word out to tattoo artists is particularly critical. Even when they diligently follow hygienic practices, they may not know that an ink itself may be contaminated. Contamination is not always visible in the inks, Katz says.

WATCH THE VIDEO [Warning Graphic Content]

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