Leisure: Something nasty in the fish tank

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Keeping tropical fish has traditionally been regarded as the safe and easy option for pet-lovers. But yesterday doctors warned of a hitherto unforseen danger facing fish enthusiasts: fish tank granuloma.

Five cases of this potentially serious skin infection, caused by aquatic bacteria, have been reported recently by doctors at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Each of the afflicted patients kept tropical fish, and had immersed an unprotected hand in the tank waters of their pets. There was already a cut or abrasion on each person's hand, and the Mycobacterium marinum present in the water led to an infection of the area.