Something fishy with this story: bacteria in fish pedicures

Well, the title drew me in, without a doubt: Fish Pedicures: Bacteria in Your Foot Soak.

To start with _ i guess I have been out of touch as I have never heard of fish pedicures before.  Sounds lovely I must say.

Though if you are considering doing this you might be dissuaded by some of the revelations in the article including that “fish are living creatures that deposit their waste products in the very water in which people are soaking” and “the impossibility of disinfecting or sanitizing live fish.”

Amazingly, fish pedicures are in fact apparently quite popular.  So popular that there are multiple investigations relating to this practice including that “British authorities investigated a reported bacterial outbreak among 6,000 Garra rufa fish ” and “Last spring, British fish inspectors went to London’s Heathrow Airport and intercepted Indonesian shipments of the silver, inch-long freshwater carp destined for British “fish spas.”

And now – the reason for this article – there is a new report in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases on “Zoonotic Disease Pathogens in Fish Used for Pedicure.”  The article is actually somewhat fascinating and thanks to the CDC it is freely available.

Fun reading for the day …

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

3 thoughts on “Something fishy with this story: bacteria in fish pedicures”

  1. I was going to make some clever comment based on the famous W.C. Fields argument against drinking water based on what fish do in it, but it turns out it was an apocryphal quote anyhow.


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