Researchers found that people who had tattoos were 9 times as likely as others to be infected with the virus, according to a report in Medicine.
Doctors at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA, studied more than 600 patients at an orthopaedic clinic.
|HCV infection rates amongst patients:|
18% of the patients had a tattoo and 22% of these were infected with the virus. Of these, 52 patients had been tattooed in commercial settings, and one third of these were infected.
The infection rate among untattooed people was 3.5%. The research was done in 1991 and 1992 - before it was common to test for HCV - and has remained unpublished until now.
Researchers said that commercial tattoos seemed to be responsible for twice as much infection as illicit drug users.
Researcher Dr Robert Haley said, "Prior studies were unable to account for a substantial proportion of infections, perhaps 40% or more, by the accepted risk factors like injection-drug use and transfusions.
"That suggested that important risk factors were yet to be identified. Tattooing appears to be one of those."
Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com