CDC: M. haemophilum Infection Possible After TattooingLast Updated: August 11, 2011. Mycobacterium haemophilum infection has been identified in at least one immunocompetent adult with a chronic skin infection after tattooing, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases.
THURSDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Mycobacterium haemophilum (M. haemophilum) infection has been identified in at least one immunocompetent adult with a chronic skin infection after tattooing, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Meagan K. Kay, D.M.V., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues sought to identify the source of infection, characterize the clinical features, and report additional cases after a laboratory-confirmed case of M. haemophilum skin infection in a recently tattooed immunocompetent adult was reported to the Public Health-Seattle and King County in November 2009. Swabs of the lesions were cultured and tested for drug sensitivity, and gene sequencing was carried out to identify the organism cultured. Between June and December 2009, physicians were asked to report atypical skin infections after tattoos, and clinical laboratories were asked to report atypical mycobacterial species recovered.
The investigators found that the patient developed painless rash and erythematous nodules. M. haemophilum was identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing of culture isolates. Another patient was identified from the same parlor, and had pustulo-nodular skin infection. No additional cases were reported nor any other potential epidemiologic links identified. Both patients denied exposure to water from recreational, aquarium, or rusty source, or any other skin irritant. The operator confirmed using similar procedures for both patients. For both patients, municipal water was used to rinse solutions before and after the tattoo, and to dilute the ink for shading. No mycobacteria were recovered from eleven environmental samples collected during the site visit.
"Clinicians should consider M. haemophilum in the differential diagnosis of skin infections after tattooing," the authors write.