Alberta health officials are advising patrons who received a tattoo at a residential tattoo operation advertised as Discount Tattoo (224 7A St. N.E., Calgary), and/or by the operator of Discount Tattoo, Ryan Kinsella, to be tested for viruses that can be spread through unsanitary tattoo procedures.

Public domain photo/Arpingstone at the English Wikipedia project
Public domain photo/Arpingstone at the English Wikipedia project

“To prevent the spread of infection from one person to another, equipment used in tattooing must be cleaned, disinfected and sterilized according to health standards,” says Dr. Judy MacDonald, Medical Officer of Health with the Calgary Zone of AHS.

“This particular home-based tattoo operation did not have proper sterilization or sanitation processes in place, meaning individuals who received tattoos through this operation may have been exposed to viruses, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.”

Anyone who received tattoos at Discount Tattoo or from the operator, Ryan Kinsella, should call Health Link at 811 to arrange for simple, confidential testing for these viruses. This testing will determine whether the individual has been infected.

AHS ordered the closure of Discount Tattoo on Jan. 28, 2016. This closure order remains in effect and will not be lifted until the operator has addressed all violations noted in the closure order, and is capable of providing tattoo services in accordance with all regulations and legislation in Alberta. The operator is not permitted to offer tattoo services while the closure order is in place.

“It is the responsibility of all tattoo facility operators – whether residential or otherwise – to ensure all regulations are met and operations are compliant,” says Dr. MacDonald. “This applies not only before opening a tattoo operation but also while operating, always. Our health inspectors support these businesses to operate safely. We are here as a resource.”

All Albertans are reminded to confirm that a tattoo operation is routinely inspected before receiving any tattoo services from any facility. To confirm a tattoo operation in the Calgary Zone has been routinely inspected, individuals can call AHS Environmental Public Health at 403-943-2288.