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New York City Seal
Press Release
NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Office of Public Affairs
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Andrew Tucker
Thursday, July 18, 2002
(212) 788-5290
(877) 640-1347


Injections Linked to Severe and Unusual Skin Infections

Working closely with the New York City Police Department, and state and federal agencies, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has identified nine individuals with severe bacterial skin and soft tissue infections linked to cosmetic injections performed by unlicensed medical providers. Within the past 24 hours, two individuals who performed these procedures in non- medical settings were arrested.

The nine individuals - eight women and one man, mostly Hispanic - reported receiving injections during the course of cosmetic procedures that occurred between January and May 2002. Severe and unusual skin and soft tissue infections resulted, indicating that the injections may have been contaminated. Injected cosmetic substances may have included silicone, vitamins, collagen, procaine, elastin, and a hyaluronic acid compound.

Patients developed soft tissue bacterial infections on the face, buttocks, neck, hands and/or breasts; and eight of the patients required hospitalization. No deaths have occurred, but all required incision and drainage procedures, with significant scarring and disfigurement. All patients are receiving appropriate long-term antibiotic therapy.

DOHMH is actively searching among hospitals and laboratories citywide to determine whether any other individuals may have had similar procedures and/or complications. DOHMH is also asking any health care providers who see patients presenting with cellulitis, soft tissue infections, or cutaneous abscess following a cosmetic procedure to immediately report them to the DOHMH at 212-788-4162 (during business hours) or (after hours) to the Poison Control Center at 212-POISONS (212-764-7667).

DOHMH strongly advises the public against obtaining injections of any substance from unlicensed providers. DOHMH also urges persons who may have received such injections to seek prompt medical care and inform physicians if they received recent injections for cosmetic purposes. Anyone who may have received such a procedure, and is concerned that they may develop such an infection can call DOHMH at 1-877-NYCDOH7, during normal hours of operation, and the Poison Control Center after hours, and on weekends.