Using Syndromic Surveillance to Investigate Tattoo-related Skin Infections in NYC

Mollie Kotzen, Robert Mathes, Lillian Lee, Don Weiss


Mycobacterium chelonae is not reportable in NYC. To investigate tattoo-associated M. chelonae infections, we used NYC ED syndromic surveillance for case finding and trend analysis. No significant trend emerged from 5 years of ED surveillance data. Thirty-one ED visits for tattoo complications were identified in the five-month period preceding a reported case of M. chelonae. Fourteen patients were interviewed, and none were suspected or confirmed with M. chelonae. Syndromic surveillance is an option for case finding when the event under surveillance is described by a unique and specific word or phrase, such as tattoo.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *