At least 30 people have been diagnosed with a bacterial skin infection after handling raw fish at Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens Chinese markets, spurring the New York City Department of Health to warn residents to take precautions.
The department is urging anyone who handles live or raw fish to wear waterproof gloves and to avoid direct contact with the seafood. There is no risk from consuming the food once it has been cooked, the agency notes.
The bacteria that causes the infection, Mycobacterium marinum, leads to symptoms including tender swelling and red bumps, as well as pain and difficulty moving fingers. It enters the body through cuts or injuries while handling live or raw seafood. Although easy to combat early on, if left untreated it could significantly worsen and require surgical treatment.
So far, cases have been linked to all three boroughs. The case found in Brooklyn was traced back to a Sunset Park market.
If you believe you have symptoms of the infection, you can call the Health Department’s Bureau of Communicable Disease at (347) 396-2600 and ask to speak to a physician.