Woman loses toenails after fish pedicure

After a young woman's toenails started to separate from her toes a doctor finally zeroed in on the reason a fish pedicure according to a report published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Dermatology

Woman's 'Fish Pedicure' Tied to Odd Toenail Problem

In a fish pedicure, a client's feet are immersed into tanks filled with small fish called Garra rufa or "doctor fish".

"While the exact mechanism is unknown, it is likely that direct trauma caused by fish biting multiple nail units causes a cessation in nail plate production", Lipner writes.

The female subject in the report had claimed to receive a fish pedicure some months before beginning to notice the abnormal nail behavior. Onychomadesis causes nails to shred.

She also warned that practice could lead to infection.

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Six months into her nail troubles, she visited a dermatologist, who ruled out any known causes of onychomadesis, such as major illness or a side effect of certain medications.

When a young US woman began losing her toenails, her doctors were baffled. Lipner notes that our toenails only grow 1mm a month on average, while an entire nail can take as long as 18 months to be replaced.

Having fish eat dead skin off your feet may be a trendy (and ticklish) way to exfoliate, but so-called "fish pedicures" could pose health risks. Lipner was not able to identify the fish species involved in this case. There were reports of a patient with a Staphylococcus aureus infection after a fish pedicure. For about a decade, people have been using "fish pedicures" in order to get rid of the dead skin on their feet.

"First, tubs and fish can not be adequately sanitized between people, and the same fish are typically reused for successive persons". In work done previously with the UK's Health Protection Agency, she helped produce the agency's 2011 guidance on fish spas.

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However, other concerns about fish pedicures have been raised before, with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention determining that Garra Rufa can spread infections when their tanks are not changed between uses.

"Unfortunately the water is sometimes contaminated with bacteria and other pathogens and the fish themselves can do more damage than good", Day said. They were found to be infected with streptococcal bacteria.

However, according to David Verner-Jeffreys, a senior microbiologist at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in the United Kingdom, it is becoming unpopular steadily.

The fish pedicures have been banned in 14 states around America and Canada due to their risk of spreading infections and even serious viruses such as HIV.

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"We did have some concerns about the welfare of these animals being transported around the world, often by people with limited experience", he said.

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