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Monday, April 04, 2011

Just a nibble: Something fishy?

Fish pedicures started in Asia but their popularity spread to most other countries. More recently health authorities have been concerned at fish foot therapy and the potential to spread infections between people through open wounds. In the UK the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has started to look more closely at the new phenomenon and already some US states have banned them. To date HPA has not received any reports of infections but intend to complete exhaustive investigation before publishing guidelines for the use of fish pedicures in the UK. Garra Rufa is a type of toothless carp used in beauty salons to nibble dead skin off. The fish are kept in baths and when the feet are submerged they eat the dead keratin flakes from the outer skin. The fish pedicures were popular in Asia but have spread to most countries. Salons are recommended to use UV-lit tanks which are constantly filtered to keep them clear of disease. However not all salons are registered and policing standards presents a major challenge.

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