More Tattoos = Higher Hepatitis C Risk

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 9 (UPI) — People with multiple tattoos covering large parts of their bodies are at higher risk of getting hepatitis C and other diseases, a Canadian researcher warns.

Dr. Siavash Jafari of the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver points out not only do tattoo instruments used without proper hygiene techniques pose infection risk but tattoo dyes are not kept in sterile containers.

As a result, they may play a carrier role in transmitting viral infections, and pose hazards of allergic reactions, bacterial or fungal infections and possible exposure to chemical toxins. Also, the risks of a new trend among youth of being tattooed with glow-in-the-dark ink are not yet known.

“Clients and the general public need to be educated on the risks associated with tattooing and tattoo artists need to discuss harms with clients,” Jafari said in a statement.

Jafari is the lead author of a review of 124 studies from 30 countries published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

In the study, Jafari and colleagues directly linked the incidence of hepatitis C after tattooing with the number of tattoos an individual receives. They suggest prison inmates and other groups with multiple tattoos should be the focus of infection prevention programs.

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