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Argentina: Piercings a gateway for ‘superbug’ infections like MRSA

Last month in Santa Fe, Argentina, a 14-year-old boy died at the Children’s Hospital because of the infection that developed after a piercing in one of his ears. More recently, a 20-year-old girl who had had a nose piercing had been in intensive care for two weeks because of a “superbug” infection that caused a meningoencephalitis, bilateral pneumonia and an infection in one of her eyes, according to a El Litoral report (computer translated). 

Staphylococcus aureus /CDC

Concerning the second case, Dr. Juan Pablo Poletti, director of Cullen Hospital said in an interview, “When we spoke with the relatives of the patient, she was healthy, we were told that the young woman had a piercing on the right wing of the nose, so it is suspected that may have been the gateway for a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) , a germ that is resistant to most common antibiotics.”

The patient is hospitalized in the Medical Clinic area and still has to take the latest generation antibiotics  – they are more powerful – at the same time that she is treated by the ophthalmologists of the hospital to try to improve the vision of the eye that was affected by the infection.

People who do a piercing should also be very attentive in the days after the procedure. “If the area becomes infected and there is a fever, they should consult the doctor quickly to determine the treatment. It may be a bacterium that is resistant to most antibiotics and requires special treatment, “said Dr. Mariela Allassia, associate director of Children’s Hospital.

According to Santa Fe law:

Companies or establishments that carry out this activity must have civil liability insurance. In addition, tattooers and punchers should conduct a training course.

– The instruments must be sterilized by the autoclave system or sterilization stoves, and should be stored in closed containers of glass or plastic.

– The needles must be disposable and open in front of the customer.

– Only those persons who present a certificate of application of the tetanus vaccine will be tattooed or punctured.

– You can not tattoo or puncture people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

– Neither the tattoo artist nor the client should smoke or drink alcohol while doing the practice.

– Before beginning the tattoo artist should wash with antibacterial soap and dry with sterile disposable towels.

– It is forbidden the application of tattoos or piercings to children under 18 years of age who are not emancipated, who must have the written and certified authorization of their parents or guardians to carry out the practice.

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