JANE E. ALLEN, ABC News Medical Unit
May 16, 2012
The tiny toothless carp that nibble away dead, callused skin from the feet of salon customers undergoing fish pedicures may carry bacteria responsible for a variety of dangerous skin and soft tissue infections, British scientists reported today.
The threat has remained largely theoretical ever since a spa in Alexandria, Va., brought the fishy foot treatments to U.S. shores in 2008 as a replacement for the razors typically used to scrape dead skin from callused toes and heels. More than 6,000 patrons flocked to the spa in its first five months for a fish pedi. But U.S. and British health officials continue to warn that anyone with open sores or skin cuts, an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or an immune system compromised by AIDS, cancer or advanced age should steer clear of a fish pedicure.
“The most important thing to stress at this point is that the U.K. Health Protection Authority considers the human health risks to be very low, and we would not want your readers to be unduly alarmed by our findings,” David W. Verner-Jeffreys, lead author of the new report, told ABC News Tuesday.
Of course, there’s always the ick factor in what’s scientifically called ichthyotherapy: fish are living creatures that deposit their waste products in the very water in which people are soaking.
Scientists began to get indications of the kinds of microbes that could be bathing fish spa patrons’ feet in April 2011, when British authorities investigated a reported bacterial outbreak among 6,000 Garra rufa fish imported from Indonesia to British salons and pedicure spas. Tests revealed the fish had been infected with Streptococcus agalactiae (group B Streptococcus), bacteria that can cause pneumonia and serious infections of the bones, joints and blood in people of all ages and life-threatening infections in newborns.
Could this be the route of infection for the plagues spread by the BLACK HORSEWOMAN of Revelation?
PPS> hum…. Does that Doctor at the 2:08 frame look like somebody we know??