Customers of second Cape Breton tattoo artist being alerted to potential health risk

Health and Environment officials have investigated a second Cape Breton tattoo artist and are alerting customers about a potential health risk under Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act.

Customers who got tattoos or piercings from Jerry Billard, either privately or through Wizzards Tattoo & Body Piercing in Bras D’Or, may be at increased risk of contracting an illness through tattoo and piercing instruments that were not properly sterilized, said Dr. Frank Atherton, local acting medical officer of health for Department of Health and Wellness.

Earlier this week officials advised customers who were tattooed by Jeff Day, either privately or through Bar Town Tattoos & Piercing, of a similar potential risk due to improper sterilization.

“We have not so far identified a link between someone getting a tattoo or piercing from either artist and then developing any illness or infection,” said Dr. Atherton. “But there is still a risk. That is why we are advising customers to discuss the issue with their family physician or usual care provider and consider the need for testing.”

Following a complaint, inspectors met with the tattoo artist, checked his tattooing equipment and reviewed his practices, including sterilization methods. The artist has been unable to prove his practices, especially the sterilization process and equipment, ensured the health and safety of customers.

Using tattoo and piercing instruments that are not properly sterilized can lead to the spread of blood-borne illnesses, including hepatitis B and C and HIV.

The medical officer of health, NSHA Public Health nurses and inspectors with Nova Scotia Environment will continue to collaborate on the public health response. 

Both artists are continuing to operate. Inspectors have verified that they are currently using pre-sterilized, single-use disposable instruments. Follow up inspections will take place.

 

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