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Press Release

Nail Salons to Get Education on Cleaning

For Release May 24, 2005

Health officials in Contra Costa are sending local nail salons across the county a bulletin outlining what has to be done to be sure that bacterial infections aren't spread through footbaths.

The bulletin, which will be sent to dozens of salons, is part of Contra Costa Health Services' (CCHS) ongoing education efforts to insure that mycobacterial furunculosis infections aren't spread when local residents have pedicures. The CCHS Communicable Disease Program alerted all health care providers in the county in February to report skin infections of the lower legs that might be connected with recent pedicures. The disease has symptoms such as non-healing boils that may begin by looking like a spider bite and gradually grow in size and produce pus.

The local education efforts began when the Communicable Disease Program, responding to reports from local physicians, began visiting nail salons to provide education and help salons learn better methods of cleaning. Following that, the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, the regulatory agency for nail salons, began conducting formal inspections of some businesses in Contra Costa. The Board found a number of them to be in violation of the state's requirements. "We are working with the nail salons to be sure they understand what they have to do to clean their equipment and stop the spread of the disease," says Francie Wise, the County's Communicable Disease Program Chief.

Wise says that before the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology conducted its full-scale investigations of local salons several months ago, local health officials were making site visits to determine whether the problem was widespread and to educate and help the salons. Results of Contra Costa's limited testing with nine salons are available online at or by calling 925-313-6740. The State's results of the official inspections are available by calling 916-323-1101.

According to Wise, local health officials will continue to make site visits to help educate salon owners about sanitary procedures.

"We also advise residents to check carefully when they visit a salon," says Wise. "They should ask about how and how often footbath chairs are cleaned. They should also look at the overall cleanliness of the salon. This is much more important than results of testing in insuring your health."

The infections can be treated with antibiotics, but may take a long time - sometimes months - to heal, according to Wise.

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Press Contact
  • Francie Wise
  • 925-313-6740