Chapter 14 : Infections from Body Piercing and Tattoos

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Tattoos and body piercing have received increased attention in recent years. Temporary tattoos and body jewelry (without actual piercing) are popular decorative items for children as well. These procedures include tattooing, body piercing, scarification, branding, and surgical modifications. Streptococci and staphylococci are the most common bacterial causes of local infection at the tattoo site and may cause cellulitis, impetigo, erysipelas, or furunculosis. Infections associated with endogenous microorganisms are not completely preventable, although the use of appropriate sterile techniques during tattoo application and proper aftercare of the new tattoo may serve to minimize the risk. Among the exogenously acquired diseases associated with tattoos, viral hepatitis has probably been reported most commonly. The earliest reported outbreaks of acute hepatitis following tattooing occurred in military personnel who had received their tattoos at the same parlor (in which hygienic techniques were not employed). All of the bacteria available for testing from patients were noted to be the USA300 genotype, the most common strain of CA-MRSA associated with skin infections. Genital piercings are predisposed to infections caused by aerobic gram-negative bacilli, especially the , as well as anaerobes, staphylococci, and streptococci. Medical practitioners and the general public should be aware of the potential risks of infection associated with tattooing and body piercing. Early recognition of infection following tattooing or body piercing is important to prevent potential complications, but such infections can be difficult to appreciate because most health care professionals are unfamiliar with the clinical characteristics of infections associated with these procedures.

Citation: Patel M, Cobbs C. 2009. Infections from Body Piercing and Tattoos, p 331-348. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch14

Key Concept Ranking

Toxic Shock Syndrome
Infectious Diseases
Aortic Valve Endocarditis
Hepatitis B virus
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Overview of infectious complications of body piercing

Citation: Patel M, Cobbs C. 2009. Infections from Body Piercing and Tattoos, p 331-348. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch14
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Endocarditis associated with tattooing and body piercing

Citation: Patel M, Cobbs C. 2009. Infections from Body Piercing and Tattoos, p 331-348. In Schlossberg D (ed), Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815950.ch14

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