HEALTH

Fish pedicures could cause infection, officials say

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It quickly became the latest rage in the beauty business - tiny, toothless fish nibbling away at dead skin on your feet during a pedicure.

However, the trend, which came to America through a salon in Alexandria several years ago, might be tainted. A new British study says that carp, the fish used in the treatment, may carry bacteria responsible for a variety of dangerous skin and soft tissue infections.

More than 6,000 people got the fish pedicures in the first five months it was offered in 2008, but now health officials are warning that anyone with open sores or skin cuts, diabetes, cancer and older people should avoid the treatment.

Because of this, more than 10 states have banned the practice. The Centers for Disease control says that it's nearly impossible to disinfect or sanitize live fish, among other reasons. No illnesses have been reported in the United States, though, the CDC says.

As of now, there have only been a handful of infections reported in Great Britain. However, last spring, fish inspectors found several strains of bacteria inside fish destined for spas.

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