Mycobacterium fortuitum bacteria; By CDC/ Margaret M. Williams; Janice Haney Carr

Mycobacterium fortuitum bacteria; By CDC/ Margaret M. Williams; Janice Haney Carr

In 2000, a Watsonville, Calif., salon was the source of a major bacterial outbreak that infected at least 110 clients and left them with lesions on their legs. Many of the Watsonville victims had recently shaved their legs prior to their pedicures and they also received an oil massage on their legs afterward. Unfortunately, those two conditions made it easier for the bacteria (Mycobacterium fortuitum) to penetrate the skin. However negative, this well-publicized story prompted regulators and manufacturers to clarify maintenance protocols for foot baths and spurred product innovation. It also galvanized nail techs to make sanitation their number-one priority in the salon.