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Tattooing increases risk of hepatitis C

Category: Liver Diseases

Individuals who have significant parts of their body tattooed may want to consider seeking an Hepatitis C test, as a new study from Canadian researchers has found that they are much more likely to contract the disease.

A team of investigators from the University of British Columbia analyzed the results of 124 separate studies on tattooing from 30 different countries including Canada, Iran, Brazil, the United States and Italy.

They found that an individual's risk for contracting hepatitis C is directly linked to the number of tattoos that they have. The risk is especially great when a person has a tattoo that covers a large patch of 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 sterilized or without proper hygiene techniques," said lead author Siavash Jafari.

Jafari added that tattoo inks are generally not kept in sterile environments, and that they frequently contain harsh chemicals that may lower the ability of the body to fight an infection in the area of the tattoo.

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