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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006 Jun 23;55(24):677-9.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections among tattoo recipients--Ohio, Kentucky, and Vermont, 2004-2005.


Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections have emerged as a major cause of skin disease in the United States. Outbreaks of CA-MRSA have occurred among athletes, inmates at correctional facilities, and military recruits. This report summarizes investigations of six unlinked clusters of skin and soft tissue infections caused by CA-MRSA among 44 recipients of tattoos from 13 unlicensed tattooists in three states (Ohio, Kentucky, and Vermont); use of nonsterile equipment and suboptimal infection-control practices were identified as potential causes of the infections. Clinicians should consider CA-MRSA in their differential diagnosis for staphylococcus diseases, including skin infections. Clinicians can contact their local health departments to determine the prevalence of CA-MRSA in their community and whether the disease is reportable. MRSA infections should be added to education and prevention campaigns highlighting the risks of unlicensed tattooing.

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