New Study Suggests Tainted Ink Caused Bacterial Tattoo Outbreak


Think twice before deciding to get tatted up. A new study suggests a majority of tattoo infections have recently occurred due to tainted ink.

“Even if you get a tattoo from a facility that does everything right, it’s not risk free,” said Dr. Byron Kennedy, deputy director of the health department in New York’s Monroe County.

Kennedy is the lead reporter on the largest outbreak recorded as of date in Rochester, NY. Over 19 people complained about bubbly rashes appearing on fresh tattoos. In the past year there have been 22 confirmed cases and 30 suspected cases in other states, including Iowa, New York, Colorado, and Washington state.

The bacteria to blame is Mycobacterium chelonae (pronounced chell-OH-nay), cousin of tuberculosis. It’s known to produce itchy blisters and painful rashes. An antibiotic is available, but is known to cause harsh side effects.

Investigators in the Rochester situation discovered the bacteria in both opened and unopened bottles. According to the Associated Press, health officials are calling for consumers to inquire about the grade of ink when deciding to get a tattoo.

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