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Ear piercings cause illness, disfigurement

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8:50pm, March 16, 2004

Upper-ear piercings at a shopping mall kiosk in Oregon in 2000 caused a rash of infections in preteens and teenagers. A study of the outbreak suggests that upper-ear cartilage is more susceptible to bacterial infections than lobes are.

Investigators closed the kiosk and took swabs of surfaces, equipment, and employees. Pseudomonas aeruginosa turned up in a bottle of disinfectant, in a sink used by employees and in two of the four employees tested.

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