Acupuncture may be risky as needles are inserted up to several centimeters beneath the skin. In the 1970s and 1980s most infections associated with acupuncture were sporadic cases involving pyogenic bacteria.
There is a new syndrome - acupuncture mycobacteriosis - infection caused by mycobacteria that rapidly grow around the acupuncture insertion point as a result of contaminated cotton wool swabs, towels and hot-pack covers. There is a long incubation period and the infection usually leads to large abscesses and ulcers.
Acupuncture transmitted infections. BMJ 2010;340:c1268.
Image source: Needles being inserted into a patient's skin, Wikipedia, public domain.