Fish Market

(Photo: vpickering’s Flickr)

No, it doesn’t all come from the East River.

But there’s been an outbreak of a rare bacterial skin infection caused by handling live or raw fish sold in the city’s Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens Chinatown markets, the city’s health department announced today.

Some 30 cases of the infection, caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium marinum (M. marinum), have been identified — all of them in Chinatown. It’s not clear whether the people affected are employees of the markets, customers, or both.

The bacteria enters the skin through cuts and other injuries and causes people to have pain, difficulty moving their fingers, and red and tender lumps under the skin. Surgery may be necessary if you don’t use certain antibiotics to treat the infection soon after it begins, the health department warns.

If you’re rethinking that cheap and delish Chinatown fish, worry not — those roly poly fish heads are still safe to eat. Just wear waterproof gloves.