An Indonesian worker in Taichung developed a high fever and severe inflammation in his arms after getting a tattoo from an unqualified tattooist.
The man visited a clinic after his arms exhibited signs of infection — swelling and exuding pus — and was recovering after six rounds of treatment, said physician Chien Chao-tung (簡肇棟), a former Democratic Progressive Party legislator, adding that the man would need to return to be tested for hepatitis and HIV.
Chien recommended that the man not have the unfinished tattoo completed.
Chien said he was unable to determine where the man received the tattoo or what he paid for the procedure, citing a language barrier and the lack of a translator.
The tattoo partly resembles a carp and a phoenix, with the addition of extra wings along its length, he said, adding that only the outline of the tattoo had been completed.
The man had received treatment at the clinic for 10 days, Chien said, adding that based on the man’s condition on his first visit, work on the tattoo had begun roughly three to four days before that.
Scabs have begun to form on the wings along the periphery of the tattoo, he said, adding that after it was cleaned, the man was given antibiotic injections and medication.
Chien said the most common infections he sees are elementary and junior-high school girls who get infections after having their ears pierced, adding that this was his first encounter with a major infection from a tattoo.
“It is likely the tattooist’s equipment was not properly sanitized,” Chien said, adding that the man was shocked by the experience.