Horrifying Skin Infection Spreading From Raw Seafood In Chinatown

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AP via NBC New York

An outbreak of a rare skin infection has been detected amongst live and raw seafood handlers in the city's Chinatowns in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens—as you can see, the results are pretty gross. The Health Department released a statement this morning about the bacteria, called Mycobacterium marinum (M. marinum), which has been turning up on the hands of people handling the products.

The bacteria enters through cuts on the hands and causes "red, tender swelling under the skin of the hands and arms, hand or arm pain, and difficulty moving fingers." If left untreated, surgical treatment could be required. The DOH encourages anyone who handles the raw seafood to wear gloves, especially they have any kind of cut or abrasion.

There's apparently "no risk" for anyone who chooses to eat the food from these markets. Cooking methods may kill the bacteria, but what about raw preparations like sushi; are diners still safe? We reached out to the DOH for this very important clarification and have been assured there's "no risk associated with eating the fish or seafood." Yay?

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By Nell Casey in Food on Mar 5, 2014 3:49 PM