Tattoos Have High Risk of Hepatitis C

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Tattoos Risk of Hepatitis CPrisoners and those who have tattoos on their body are more at risk of contracting hepatitis C and other diseases through blood, according to a study at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Researchers reviewed and analyzed 124 studies from 30 countries, including Canada, Iran, Italy, Brazil and the United States. They found the incidence of hepatitis C in some individuals with tattoos. The findings were published in the latest edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases Internasional.

Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years. In the U.S., an estimated 36 percent of people under 30 years old have tattoos. In Canada, about eight percent of high school students have at least one tattoo.

“Since tattoo instruments are in contact with blood and body fluids, infection can be transmitted if this instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilized or without proper hygiene techniques,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Siavash Jafari.

“In addition, tattoo dyes which are not stored in sterile containers may play a role in transmitting the infection,” said Jafari. Therefore, Jafari advised the public to understand the risks associated with tattoos, and tattoo artists need to talk about things that could harm the client.

Other risks identified by the study includes allergic reactions, HIV, hepatitis B, bacterial or fungal infections, and other risks associated with tattoo removal.

They also recommend prevention programs that focus on youth – the population most likely to get a tattoo – and prisoners- who face a high prevalence of hepatitis C – to reduce the spread of infectious hepatitis.

Chemicals in tattoo dyes can include house paint, ink, computer printer ink, or the carbon industry. Poison in the tattoo ink can enter the kidney, lung, and lymph  through the circulatory system.

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