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Chinese researchers have published a systematic review of adverse events associated with acupuncture reported between 2000 and 2011. The investigators found 117 reports of 308 adverse events from 25 countries and regions. The main complications were bacterial infection caused by skin contact at acupoint sites. Internal injuries such as puncture of the lung were also reported. [Xu S and others. Adverse events of acupuncture: A systematic review of case reports. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2013, Article ID 581203] [pdf]

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The authors conclude: "We have identified a large outbreak of rapidly growing mycobacterial infection among patients who received acupuncture at a single Oriental medicine clinic. Physicians should suspect mycobacterial infections in patients with persistent cutaneous infections following acupuncture, and infection control education including hygienic practice, should be emphasized for Oriental medical doctors practicing acupuncture". BMC Infectious Diseases (January 2006)

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Article by Edzard Ernst which reaches the conclusion "Based on prospective studies of almost 200,000 consultations, we are now able to state for the first time in its long history that acupuncture is reasonably safe." The Guardian (2nd November 2004)

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"Nowadays, acupuncture therapy is being used in more than 140 countries, and acupuncture accidents due to improper application are increasing. Prevention of acupuncture accidents has become a global issue deserving of great attention." Zhang R, Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao (July 2004)