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Skin infections from fish double in New York City

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Cases of a rare skin infection caught from handling fresh fish have doubled in the last month, WNBC reported April 3. The outbreak, tied to fish markets in Chinatowns in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, has now reached 66 cases. The unsightly, painful infection is treatable with antibiotics.

An outbreak of infections due to the bacteria Mycobacterium marinum was first announced by the New York City Health Department on March 5. The infection causes skin lesions, redness, pain and tenderness and can restrict movement in the hand or fingers. At the time 30 cases had been discovered.

These infections are acquired through the handling of raw fish, at a market or while preparing the fish for consumption. The bacteria enters the body through a small cut or abrasion in the skin. Most infections are found in the hands and arms. The Health Department suggests the use of waterproof gloves while handling raw fish that came from a market in one of New York's Chinatowns.

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