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PEOPLE with weak immune systems [...].

PEOPLE with weak immune systems or underlying medical conditions are at increased risk of infection from controversial fish pedicures, experts have warned.

Questions have been raised in recent months over the beauty craze which sees customers place their feet in tanks of water containing dozens of tiny Garra Rufa fish which nibble on dead skin.

While the pampering carries a very low risk for healthy clients, those with conditions including diabetes and psoriasis have now been advised against the indulgence.

The pedicures - which are popular in Asia - have been banned in some US states, including Florida, Texas, New Hampshire and Washington amid fears that infections could spread through open wounds.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) issued new guidance after a panel found fish tank water contained a number of micro-organisms and that infections could be transmitted either from fish to person, water to person or person to person.

While it advised certain individuals to avoid treatment, it said any risk was very low for healthy clients when spas adhered to strict codes of cleanliness.

Dr Hilary Kirkbride, consultant epidemiologist at the HPA, said: "Provided that good standards of hygiene are followed by salons, members of the public are unlikely to get an infection from a fish spa pedicure. However the risk will be higher for certain people."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2011
Words:217
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