The city's health department yesterday warned owners of fish stores and restaurants around the five boroughs to be extra careful when handling seafood.

There is an outbreak of a rare skin infection called Mycobacterium marinum in seafood items purchased in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn's Chinatowns, according to the department.

The infection causes tender swelling under the skin of the hands and arms, hand or arm pain, and difficulty in moving fingers.

Food preparers are urged to wear waterproof gloves when handling the seafood, especially if they have cuts.

The health department reiterated that there is no health risk in consuming the food from these markets.