HBV, vaccine but no cure; HCV, no vaccine, possible cures. Both can be transmitted during pedicures and other personal care activities. In Asia, open-air barbers and pedicurists still ply their trades the old-fashioned unsterile way.
Helen Tryell of Hepatitis Australia, tries to raise awareness about preventing these infections (article: That holiday pedicure may leave you with hepatitis C), for Aussies on vacation. Tryell says,
In places like Bali, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, hepatitis C can be nine or 10 times more prevalent than at home, and this coupled with generally lower standards of equipment sterilisation in the average tattoo parlour or where you get pedicures can greatly increase the risk of infection.
This tourist could care less as he’s clipped and pampered near the beach by two ladies.
These services are an everyday way of life for the native populations across Asia as these random images from travel blogs show.
These women provide useful, valuable services but ones that are risky to themselves and the public they serve. As long as they have customers and jobs are scarce, this form of self-employment will remain a popular occupation. “Pop-up” businesses can’t be regulated so Asian governments should offer free voluntary education, disposable implements and places where workers can sterilize their equipment since they can’t disinfect between customers. Maybe they could offer a free educational certificate for participants as an incentive. This might give them a competitive edge over other micro-entrepreneurs.
Many species seem to agree: the benefits of pampering outweigh disease risks.