Clients who used a piercing and tattoo studio in Newport have been offered precautionary health checks.
Concerns were raised after five people with serious skin infections were identified as having had a piercing carried out at the premises. The individuals were all treated as hospital in-patients.
The business has traded under the names of Blue Voodoo, Sun Tattoo Studio and Flesh Wound:
- Blue Voodoo at 92 Commercial Street, Newport between May 2013 and February 2014
- Blue Voodoo, Sun Tattoo Studio and Flesh Wound at 83 Commercial Street Newport between February 2014 and January 2015.
The confirmed cases of skin infection could also indicate a low risk of transmission of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C and an extremely low risk of HIV transmission for all clients of these premises.
A simple blood test to check for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV has been offered to clients that were pierced or had a tattoo at either premise. Therefore letters have been sent to around 550 clients identified from records offering a precautionary blood test.
Clients that do not receive a letter by midday Friday 8 May but have had a piercing or tattoo at either premise are also invited to come forward for advice and if necessary testing.
The helpline number for those who have not received a letter by midday Friday 8 May is 02920 402528.
The risk of picking up any blood borne infections through piercing or tattooing is very small, and there is no evidence that any such transmission has occurred in this instance, but tests are being offered as a precautionary measure.
There can be contamination of needles and equipment through body fluids if good hygiene practices are not followed. These can then come into contact with the next person’s body fluids, so spreading infection.
The registered business has been the subject of ongoing investigations undertaken by Newport City Council’s Environmental Health Team and has currently ceased trading.
A series of dedicated clinics with specialist nurses have been set up in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area.
Dr Gill Richardson, Director of Public Health for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said: “Our primary focus at this time is to invite those identified from records for a simple blood test as a precautionary measure.
“We are also appealing to clients that had a procedure at these premises but have not received a letter from us by midday on Friday 8 May to contact the helpline so that we can arrange a test for them.
“I do want to reassure people that the risk of picking up any blood borne infections through piercing or tattooing is very small, and there is no evidence that any such transmission has occurred in this instance.”
Dr Brendan Mason, Consultant Epidemiologist for Public Health Wales, said: “The risk of contracting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV from piercing or tattooing is low. No cases of HIV transmission from tattooing or piercing have been documented worldwide.
All three infections are uncommon in Wales. In the unlikely event that an individual had become infected it is worth knowing because effective treatment is available for all three viruses.
“Antiretroviral treatment is available which can suppress the HIV virus. Treatments for Hepatitis B and C can clear the virus and prevent the progression of inflammation and liver damage.”
This is a joint exercise being undertaken by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Public Health Wales and Newport City Council.
Sheila Davies, Newport City Council’s corporate director, said: “Our priority is to support our partners as they undertake these important precautionary health checks.
“The council cannot make any detailed comment about these particular premises at the present time, because of pending legal proceedings.
“However, I can confirm that we have taken the concerns raised about these premises extremely seriously and have used the statutory powers currently available to us to take action to protect the public.”