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ATLANTA -- An outbreak of infected tattoos has led to an unlikely source: the ink.

Health officials say they are seeing more cases of a nasty skin infection caused by a common bacteria traced to the ink. In the largest outbreak, 19 people in Rochester, N.Y., ended up with rashes on new tattoos.

Infections from tattoos are nothing new, but usually dirty needles and unsanitary conditions are blamed.

These infections were caused by bacteria common in tap water. In the past year, more than 50 confirmed or suspected cases were linked to tattoo ink or water used to dilute the ink. Health officials say tattoo artists and ink makers should only use sterile water.

A report on the New York cases was published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

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