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Bad Ink Leaves Newly Tattooed With Infection Risk

DENVER (CBS4)- Health officials are offering a warning to anyone who has received a tattoo in recent months- bad ink has left several people with an infection including one person in Colorado.

There is only one confirmed case in the state so far. The Colorado Department of Health and Environment said the case is from a tattoo shop in Arapahoe County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control the non-tuberculosis mycobacterial skin infection has been reported in several states. There are 14 confirmed cases in New York, two in Iowa, five in Washington, and one in Colorado.

The infection was traced back to tattoo ink. The CDC only lists the brand of contaminated ink as "Company A."

The contaminated ink investigation began in New York after a client was tattooed in October 2011.

Tribe Tattoo owner John Slaughter said he refuses to put his clients health at risk.

"First of all we called our companies," said Slaughter. "Every single one of them that we do get our product through. We had all of our inks replaced immediately."

The confirmed infection in Colorado is unrelated to the cases in other states. The Colorado Department of Health recommends that all tattoo clients should be aware of the signs.

"A wise consumer should advocate a little for themselves and ask a few questions if they're going to be considering a tattoo," said Colorado Department of Health Program Coordinator Rick Colonno.

"As with any skin abnormalities watch for general skin abrasions or abnormalities in terms of redness."

Those who notice something unusual are urged to contact their doctor.

Slaughter said it's important for customers to do their homework before letting someone create a permanent piece of art on their body.

"It's very important to check out reputable shops only. Talk to people about where they get their tattoos from. You can even call the health department to find out which tattoo shops they advise you to go to," said Slaughter.

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