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Thursday, August 9, 2012
Glub Glub: Fish Pedicures Carry Bacteria
British scientists reported in May that the tiny, toothless carps that nibble away at dead, callused skin on the feet of salon customers getting a fish pedicure carry bacteria that can cause dangerous skin and soft tissue infections.
Fish pedicures became popular in 2008 when an Alexandria, VA spa brought this treatment to the US as a replacement for the razor blades used to scrape away dead skin from callused toes and heels. Within the first five months more than 6,000 people had appointments for a fish pedi. However, U.S. and British health officials warn against anyone with open sores or cuts, diabetes, AIDS, cancer, or advanced age stay away from fish pedicures.
"The most important thing to stress at this point is that the U.K. Health Protection Authority considers the human risks to be very low, and we would not want your readers to be unduly alarmed by our findings," David W. Verner-Jeffreys, lead author of the new report, told ABC News.
Let's also not forget about the ick factor: the fish swimming around in your pedicure water also deposit their waste in there.
In April 2011, British authorities investigated a reported bacterial outbreak among 6,000 Garra rufa fish imported from Indonesia to Britain salons and pedicure spas. Tests revealed the fish had been infected with Streptococcus agalactiae, a bacteria that can cause pneumonia and serious infections of the bones, joints, and blood in people of all ages.
British fish inspectors intercepted Indonesian shipments of the silver, inch-long freshwater carp destined for British fish spas. Sampling and testing showed those fish had traces of several bacteria that can cause soft tissue infection. The strain of bacteria the fish had was resistant to antimicrobial medications, a scary finding.
To check out the video of Diane Sawyer getting a fish video, watch here.
The bacteria findings appear in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal published by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. About 10 states have banned fish pedicures for several reasons: the inability to sufficiently clean the fish pedicure tubs between patrons, impossibility of disinfecting or sanitizing live fish, regulations that require fish in a salon be kept in an aquarium, and the humanitarian stand that having fish feed on dead human skin is animal cruelty.
The CDC reports there are no published reports of illness from fish pedicures.
If you have gotten a pedicure and have gotten an ingrown toenail, cut, or other problem, call one of our six locations to make an appointment. Connecticut Foot Care Centers Podiatrists in CT Visit our website, friend and like our page on Facebook, and follow our tweets on Twitter.