A nail job in a fish tank

Local health inspectors may have a new task to add to their burgeoning workload: inspecting salons that offer pedicures in tanks filled with toothless fish that nibble away at dead skin.

MSNBC reports that fish pedicures are creating something of a splash in the Washington D.C. area, where a northern Virginia spa has been offering them for the past four months.

John Ho, who runs the Yvonne Hair and Nails salon with his wife, Yvonne Le, said 5,000 people have taken the plunge so far.

"This is a good treatment for everyone who likes to have nice feet," Ho said.

He said he wanted to come up with something unique while finding a replacement for pedicures that use razors to scrape off dead skin. The razors have fallen out of favor with state regulators because of concerns about whether they’re sanitary.

Ho was skeptical at first about the fish, which are called garra rufa but typically known as doctor fish. They were first used in Turkey and have become popular in some Asian countries. …

First time customer KaNin Reese, 32, described the tingling sensation created by the toothless fish: "It kind of feels like your foot’s asleep," she said.

The fish don’t do the job alone. After 15 to 30 minutes in the tank, customers get a standard pedicure, made easier by the soft skin the doctor fish leave behind. …

State regulations make no provision for regulating fish pedicures. But the county health department — which does regulate pools — required the salon to switch from a shallow, tiled communal pool that served as many as eight people to individual tanks in which the water is changed for each customer.

The communal pool also presented its own problem: At times the fish would flock to the feet of an individual with a surplus of dead skin, leaving others with a dearth of fish.

"It would sometimes be embarrassing for them but it was also really hilarious," Ho said.

TomKat buys fish tank for Jlo’s twins: can you say Salmonella?

EntertainmentWise is reporting that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes wanted to create a splash for Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s new twins so they bought a fish tank.

A source tells the Daily Star,

“Tom and Katie wanted to get them something different and special so they thought a giant fish tank would be great.”

Australian researchers reported in the March 2006 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases that a multidrug-resistant strain of Salmonella paratyphi B sent some children to the hospital with high fever and bloody diarrhea. Investigators used DNA fingerprinting to trace the source to fish tanks in the patients’ homes.

The N.Y. Times quoted the researchers as saying, 

"The fact that 12 to 14 percent of Australian households have ornamental fish and as many as 12 million American and 1 million Canadian families own domestic aquariums, together with the young age of most affected patients," make the risk of contamination from the tanks a matter of public health.

Dr. Diane Lightfoot, a microbiologist and salmonella specialist at the University of Melbourne, who contributed to the Australian study, said,

“The world would be a terrible place without fish tanks. We’re just calling on people to use common sense. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. And when Mum’s cleaning the tank, a child shouldn’t play with the pebbles or sticks or splash in the water. It’s easy to get infected."