tattoo sepsis
Tattoo on the right leg, which was the suspected portal of entry with erythema around tattoo margins BMJ Case Reports

A 31-year-old man who took a swim in the Gulf of Mexico just a few days after getting a tattoo done died after contracting an infection by a flesh-eating bacteria, BMJ Case Reports has reported.

The unidentified man had ignored advice not to get into contact of open water for at least two weeks after getting his tattoo, reports said. He swam in the warm waters of the Atlantic between Mexico and America just five days after getting inked on his right calf.

Soon after, he developed sepsis near the area of his tattoo – a crucifix and a pair of praying hands. He also got a high fever, chills and a rash close to the tattoo after swimming, Metro reported.

His right leg subsequently turned purple and he was admitted to a hospital, where it was found that he had a vibrio vulnificus bug infection and that his liver had stopped working. The bacteria is found in warm saltwater and infects people with open wounds or weak immune systems. The infection, which usually affects the limbs and the perineum, begins at a site of trauma, and spreads fast.

Doctors at the hospital said that the man's drinking habit had also contributed to the severity of his condition.

tattoo sepsis
The tattoo two weeks after admission BMJ Case Reports

Although the man was put on life-support and his condition improved eventually, his body succumbed to septic shock, which caused his kidneys to completely fail. He died two weeks after the incident.

While the man's nationality is not known, the details of his medical condition were published in BMJ Case Reports on 27 May. It is not clear when the incident happened.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one should keep away from open water and sea water for at least two weeks after getting a tattoo done, and avoid raw food for some days.

The National Health Service (NHS) advises that unsafe and non-sterilised needles, if used during the tattoo process, can lead to Hepatitis B and skin infections. There is also risk of contracting HIV infection, skin infections and skin allergies.

The national healthcare system recommends that people consider these things carefully before getting a tattoo.

Vibrio vulnificus bacteria is found in warm saltwater and targets people with open wounds or low immunity Centers For Disease Control an