France warns of fish TB risk

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France warns of fish TB risk

France's health watchdog said it had recorded a surge in cases of a rare type of skin infection among aquarium lovers after they had changed tank water or handled fish with their bare hands.

The condition, sometimes called 'fish tuberculosis', is caused by a bug called Mycobacterium marinum that is often found in aquarium water as well as in ponds and seawater or in underchlorinated swimming pools, they said Tuesday.

Sixty-three cases of M. marinum infection were recorded in France between 1996 and 1998, the Institute of Health Surveillance (InVS) said in a weekly epidemiological bulletin.

"Give the present wave of public interest in aquaria, aquarium-lovers and live seafood traders should be advised to wear gloves when they clean out tanks or handle fish, and to use antiseptic to treat skin cuts and grazes," it said.