Fish spa pedicures investigated for spreading infection

Fish spa pedicures have become a popular alternative to exfoliation in recent years, but health officials say they are now investigating the pampering treatment following concerns that it may spread infection.

The procedure involves customers placing their feet into a water tank filled with toothless Garra rufa fish - also called doctor fish - which suck the dead tissue off their feet, leaving them feeling softer.

Officials at Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA) said they were launching an investigation into possible infection risks associated with the exfoliation treatment after receiving enquiries from local environmental health officers.

The HPA said it would assess all of the latest evidence on risks before issuing guidelines for the spa treatment.

"The HPA and Health Protection Scotland is currently unaware of any cases of infection associated with the use of the fish spa pedicures in the UK," a spokesman said.

Fish spa pedicures have already been banned in some US states for health and safety reasons. - (Reuters Health, March 2011)

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