From Atlanta, at a meeting of the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service
A CDC investigator has linked an outbreak of skin infections to unsanitary practices at a body-wrap salon. The spa, as others do, has customers exercise while tightly swathed in wet elastic bandages.
Alicia Cronquist, assigned by CDC to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in Denver, began her investigation after the owner of a Colorado salon developed a rash of pustules caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in February 2002. These bacteria flourish in warm, wet conditions, the very ones that characterize body wraps. With the salon owner’s help, Cronquist identified and contacted recent clients. Nine had developed skin pustules like the owner’s.
At the salon, Cronquist and her health-department colleagues found P. aeruginosa on bandages and in unrefrigerated bottles of the solution for soaking bandages.
To reduce the likelihood of outbreaks, Cronquist recommends that wrap salons use bandages only once or launder them in hot water and soap. The salon’s contract with its franchiser stipulates that it reuse bandages after washing them in cold water and grapefruit-seed extract.
Cronquist also recommends that salons refrigerate open bottles of solutions used in body wraps or discard them at the end of each day. She has asked the Food and Drug Administration to examine the need to regulate body-wrap products.
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