Infections Associated with Personal Service Establishments: Piercing and Tattooing
Piercing and tattooing are associated with bacterial and viral infections, typically localized to the pierced or tattooed site. Individuals with pre-existing heart conditions are at risk of developing infective endocarditis, a systemic infection involving the outer lining of the heart, when obtaining invasive procedures, such as piercing and tattooing. There is a lack of published literature on infections associated with body modification procedures, including scarring and branding. Poor infection control practices have been linked to outbreaks and individual cases of infection for both piercing and tattooing; these include use of contaminated sprays and moisturizers, improper cleaning and sterilization of tools, and re-use of tattooing ink between clients. Use of tap water to dilute ink or rinse needles between colour changes has been implicated in outbreaks of mycobacterium infections during tattooing. The majority of identified studies consists of case reports, which provide limited information on disease transmission risks for specific services.