Conflict of interest: none declared.
Clinical dermatology •Concise report
Mycobacterium chelonae infection: a complication of tattooing
Article first published online: 25 JUL 2012
© The Author(s). CED © 2012 British Association of Dermatologists
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology
Volume 38, Issue 2, pages 140–142, March 2013
How to Cite
Sergeant, A., Conaglen, P., Laurenson, I. F., Claxton, P., Mathers, M. E., Kavanagh, G. M. and Tidman, M. J. (2013), Mycobacterium chelonae infection: a complication of tattooing. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 38: 140–142. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2012.04421.x
- Issue published online: 12 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 25 JUL 2012
- Accepted for publication 18 March 2012
We describe an outbreak of Mycobacterium chelonae infection in four young immunocompetent patients who were tattooed by the same artist. All had been previously tattooed without complication, but following the latest tattooing session, they all developed a very similar papular eruption confined to skin that had been newly coloured light grey. On histological examination of the eruption, granulomatous inflammation with microabscess formation was seen, in association with the tattoo pigment. Skin cultures grown under optimal conditions grew M. chelonae, sensitive to clarithromycin, from one patient. M. chelonae was also cultured from the contents and nozzle of an opened bottle of light-grey ink from the tattoo parlour frequented by the patients. Dermatologists should consider mycobacterial infection in patients who develop inflammatory changes within a new tattoo.