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Tattooing raises hepatitis C risk

Individuals with multiple tattoos that cover large parts of their bodies have a higher risk of catching hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases.

Tattooing raises hepatitis C risk

Individuals with multiple tattoos that cover large parts of their bodies have a higher risk of catching hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases.

To identify if tattooing is related to the transmission of hepatitis C infection, researchers reviewed and analysed 124 studies from 30 countries, including Canada, Iran, Italy, Brazil and the United States.

It was found the incidence of hepatitis C after tattooing is directly linked with the number of tattoos an individual receives.

During tattooing, the skin is punctured 80 to 150 times a second in order to inject color pigments into the skin. Since tattoo instruments come in contact with blood and bodily fluids, infections may be transmitted if instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilised or proper hygiene followed.  Furthermore, tattoo dyes are not kept in sterile containers and may play a carrier role in transmitting infections. Other risks of tattooing identified by the study include allergic reactions, HIV, hepatitis B, bacterial or fungal infections, and other risks associated with tattoo removal.

This study highlights the risk of infections linked with tattooing, and provides a note of caution to those themselves tattooed.
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