New Crucifix And Praying Hands Tattoos
The man, whose case was reported in the British Medical Journal, got a tattoo of a crucifix and praying hands on his right calf and decided to go swimming five days after getting inked.
He suffered from fever, chills, and a rash close to his tattoo after that. Doctors found he contracted Vibrio vulnificus, which is known to lurk in seawater and raw oysters. Vibriosis causes about 80,000 illness and 100 deaths in the United States per year.
The man's condition led to septic shock, an infection in the blood, and cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin. His right calf has turned purple when he was admitted to the hospital.
He was placed in life support but his condition deteriorated and his kidneys failed. Doctors tried to treat him with high-powered antibiotics but the efforts failed. The man died later.
Susceptible To Vibrio Vulnificus Infection And Complications
Doctors think that years of his alcohol abuse has made him susceptible to the infection and septic shock. The man had chronic liver disease.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who have liver disease are more likely to get an infection of the flesh-eating bacteria and to suffer from severe complications.
Other people who are more vulnerable to vibriosis are those with cancer, HIV, and diabetes; those who have had recent stomach surgery, those taking medicines to reduce stomach acid levels, and people who receive immune-suppressing therapy for disease treatment.
"This case highlights the association of chronic liver disease and high mortality associated with infections of V. vulnificus. Health providers should remain vigilant for V. vulnificus infections in patients with chronic liver disease and raw oyster ingestion or seawater exposure," wrote Nicholas Hendren and colleagues in BMJ Case Reports, which was published on May 27.
Dangers Of Getting Tattoo
A new tattoo is basically an open wound. The tattoo needs to heal and seal itself weeks after a new tattoo is inked, at which time, it is discouraged to go swimming or soak in the water. Compared with other cuts on the skin, tattoos are made up of small punctures on the skin that can serve as routes for bacteria to get into the body.
"Don't go swimming or immerse your new tattoo in water until every bit of scab and dry skin has fallen off. This can take as long as four weeks," advised TatRing, a site about tattoos and piercings.
Tattoos also come with other dangers such as allergic reaction to dyes. As with other procedures that involve use of needles, getting a tattoo likewise comes with risk of contracting hepatitis C and tetanus.
"More aggressive infections may cause high fever, shaking, chills, and sweats. Treating such infections might require a variety of antibiotics—possibly for months—or even hospitalization and/or surgery. A rash may also mean you're having an allergic reaction. And because the inks are permanent, the reaction may persist," the FDA warned.