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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 43

of 'Tattooing in adolescents and young adults'

An outbreak of Mycobacterium chelonae infections in tattoos.
Drage LA, Ecker PM, Orenstein R, Phillips PK, Edson RS
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010;62(3):501. Epub 2009 Sep 6.
Nontuberculous mycobacteria infections may occur after cutaneous procedures. Review of the medical records of patients who developed a rash within a tattoo revealed 6 patients with skin infections caused by Mycobacterium chelonae after receiving tattoos by one artist at a single tattoo establishment. The interval between tattoo placement and the skin findings was 1 to 2 weeks. All patients received alternate diagnoses before mycobacterial infection was identified. Skin findings included pink, red, or purple papules; papules with scale; pustules; granulomatous papules; and lichenoid papules and plaques. Histopathologic examination revealed granuloma, lymphohistiocytic infiltrate, or mixed inflammation; acid-fast bacilli stains produced negative results. Diagnosis was made by culture in 3 patients, histopathology in two patients, and clinical/epidemiologic association in one patient. The M chelonae isolates were clarithromycin susceptible, and the infections responded to macrolide antibiotics. Physicians should consider mycobacterial infections in patients with skin findings within a new tattoo.
Division of Clinical Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. drage.lisa@mayo.edu