New York's Health Department has warned of the emergence of a rare skin disease that is spreading among the Chinese neighborhoods in the city.
So far health officials have recorded 30 cases of the skin infection, caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium marinum. The officials have traced the infection to raw seafood available at fish markets of the three large Chinese neighborhoods, Manhattan's Chinatown, Brooklyn's Sunset Park and Flushing, Queens.
Symptoms of the infection range from red, tender lumps and swelling under the skin of the hands or arms and difficulty moving their fingers, though health officials said that the infection can be treated through antibiotics.
"This is a very uncommon bacteria so the fact that we've detected 30 cases so far suggests that something has changed, either about the water in the tank or the tanks themselves or the types of fish or seafood that are causing this problem. Because this infection can look like any other common skin infection, a number of people have gone weeks and sometimes even months before they've had an accurate diagnosis", the health department's deputy commission for disease control, Dr Jay Verma said.