Common Spa Bacteria

According to the National-Interstate Council’s Health and Safety Report, authored by Sue Sansom, administrator of the Arizona Board of Cosmetology, and appearing in the NIC Bulletin from September/October 2006, the types of bacteria that commonly cause
spa health concerns are as follows.

Cellulitis. This is an infection of the skin caused by various bacteria. It is usually referred to as being noncontagious, but direct contact can transfer the infection to another person. Cellulitis is often used without specific laboratory conclusions.

Mycobacterium fortuitum furunculosis. This is the bacteria responsible for the original outbreak of pedicure station infestation in California and requires particular attention when offering pedicure treatments.

Mycobacterium chelonae. This is another opportunistic bacterium in the same category as Mycobacterium fortuitum furunculosis.

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This is a very severe infection that is contracted in surgical and health care settings, and is thought to be passed on by local contact. A highly publicized case of the death of a Texas woman after receiving a pedicure was classified as MRSA.