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.
When epidemiologist William E. Keene of the Oregon Department of Human Services in Portland and his colleagues contacted 118 people who had had a piercing during the previous month at the kiosk, they found that seven had P. aeruginosa infections of the upper ear and one had a St