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UK — Fish pedicures unlikely to cause infection

October 29, 2011 Comments off

Fish pedicures unlikely to cause infection
Source: Health Protection Agency

Following a number of enquiries to the HPA from local environmental health practitioners, a multi-agency working group was established to produce guidance for this spa treatment. The working group was led by the HPA and included experts from the HPA, Health Protection Scotland, the Health & Safety Laboratory and local authorities. The guidance has been endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland.

Fish tank water has been shown to contain a number of microorganisms. Therefore, in a fish spa setting there is the potential for transmission of a range of infections, either from fish to person (during the nibbling process), water to person (from the bacteria that can multiply in water), or person to person (via water, surrounding surfaces and fish). However, the overall risk of infection is likely to be very low, if appropriate standards of hygiene are adhered to.

The fish spa working group concluded that those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions, including diabetes and psoriasis, are likely to be at increased risk of infection and so fish pedicures are not recommended for such individuals. The working group advised that operators of fish spas should not promote treatment to these groups.

Dr Hilary Kirkbride, consultant epidemiologist at the HPA, said: “Provided that good standards of hygiene are followed by salons, members of the public are unlikely to get an infection from a fish spa pedicure, however the risk will be higher for certain people.

+ Guidance on the management of the public health risks from fish pedicures

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