Fish pedicures to be investigated by Health Protection Agency

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The Health Protection Agency is to investigate fish pedicures after concerns over the spread of infections have been raised by Environmental Health Officers.

The pedicures have grown massively in popularity since their introduction to the UK last year. They shoals of the cyprinid  Garra rufa fish licking and nibbling at any dead or hard skin on the feet of the customer.  Tanks are filtered and in general sterilised by UV.

However, concerns have been raised that infections could be spread from person to person via open wounds.

 A Health Protection Agency spokesperson said: "Following a number of enquiries to the HPA from local environmental health officers over the past six months, the agency is currently investigating if there are any potential risks of infection associated with the commercial use of fish spa pedicures in the UK.

"Alongside colleagues in environmental health, Health Protection Scotland and the Health and Safety Laboratory, the HPA will examine the most up to date evidence of any possible risks associated with Garra rufa fish pedicures and will publish guidelines that will be available UK-wide.

"The HPA and Health Protection Scotland is currently unaware of any cases of infection associated with the use of the fish spas pedicures in the UK."

At least 16 states in the US and more in Canada have banned their use over health and safety concerns of having the same fish clean the skin of multiple customers.

PFK Magazine will shortly be covering fish pedicures in more detail.