My brother is a sushi-chef in Los Angeles. He says he got an infection of his finger that spread into his hand and wrist from contact with raw fish. Is this for real or is he making it up to avoid telling us the real truth?
It is possible to develop soft tissue and bone infections from contact with fish or contaminated water (fish tanks or aquariums, river water). There is a specific type of bacteria called mycobacterium that contribute to these kinds of problems.
Most of these bacteria are rare (e.g., M. kanasaii, M. leprae, M. abscessus, M. arupense). One of the more common causes of hand infections is one you have probably heard of: mycobacterium tuberculosis. But the one that is associated with fish is called mycobacterium marinum.
And there have been reported cases of sushi chefs developing finger, hand, and/or wrist infections from contact with fish contaminated with this bacterium.
Clifton Meals, MD, and Emily Hattwick. Mycobacterial Infections of the Hand and Wrist: A Review of Current Literature. In Current Orthopaedic Practice. March/April 2011. Vol. 22. No. 2. Pp. 198-203.
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