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Cleaning Your Fish Tank Can Lead to Skin Infections

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- Your home aquarium can make you sick.  Or at the very least, cleaning out the fish tank might result in bothersome skin infections, according to a new study from Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital.

Dr. George Alangaden, the study's lead author, says people are unaware that that their aquarium might harbor a bacterial organism called Mycobacterium marinum. The infection happens when an open skin wound comes into contact with bacteria in non-chlorinated water.

Although the reddish skin lesions or bumps on the hands or arms aren't life-threatening, they can go misdiagnosed whereby doctors prescribe ineffective antifungal and antibacterial agents.

What does work is antibiotic treatment, so Alangaden says doctors need to ask a lot of questions when they treat skin lesions, including whether a patient recently cleaned their fish tank.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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