TATTOO INFECTION by ATYPICAL MYCOBACTERIA

Atypical Mycobacterial Infection of a Tattoo


Infection of tattoos by AFB (acid-fast bacilli), usually M chelonae, has increased in incidence recently. It is thought that the infection results from colonized tap water used to dilute the black tattoo ink to the desired gray color. However, some well-documented cases have occurred from contaminated premixed inks. See tattoo for other diagnostic considerations.

Clinical

Usually 1-2 weeks after the placement of the tattoo, pink, red, or purple papules, papules with scale, pustules, granulomatous papules, and/or lichenoid papules and plaques develop. Onset can be delayed as long as 5 months after placement. Lesions may be confined to the gray-colored areas of the tattoo.

Treatment

Macrolide or quinolone antibiotics have been used, e.g., clarithromycin 500 mg twice a day for 3-5 months. Treatment may be lengthy. Multidrug-resistant organisms have been identified. Consultation with an infectious disease expert is recommended. Obtaining tissue culture and sensitivities to direct therapy is important.

RegionalDerm

Homepage | FAQs | Contact Dr. White


It is not the intention of RegionalDerm.com to provide specific medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. RegionalDerm.com only intends to provide users with information regarding various medical conditions for educational purposes and will not provide specific medical advice. Information on RegionalDerm.com is not intended as a substitute for seeking medical treatment and you should always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider for diagnosis and for answers to your individual questions. Information contained on RegionalDerm.com should never cause you to disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment. If you live in the United States and believe you are having a medical emergency call 911 immediately.