State public health division closes tattoo parlor-barber shop in Selbyville

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The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) ordered the closing of a tattoo establishment operating out of a barbershop in Selbyville.

In addition to operating without a permit and being entirely unregulated, DPH staff were unable to confirm that proper sanitary precautions were used.

DPH Health Systems Protection staff closed not only the body art establishment, in which tattooing and body piercing activities were taking place without a permit, but also the B & B Barber Shop, located at 5 West Church St., Unit 203, for what a release described as “grossly unsanitary conditions.”

DPH encourages customers who may have received tattooing or other body art services at this location to contact their healthcare provider for evaluation for diseases such as hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that may have been transmitted through unsterile equipment. Tell the doctor about receiving a tattoo or piercing from the unregulated establishment, when it occurred, and any symptoms since the visit.

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When in doubt, DPH recommends seeking testing for HIV and hepatitis. It is possible to carry these viruses for years without knowing it due to lack of symptoms, and, even if the virus cannot be traced to the closed tattoo parlor, knowing one’s HIV and hepatitis status can help get treatment and prevent further spread of these viruses.

The unregulated tattoo parlor kept no client records and, as a result, DPH cannot follow the normal protocol of contacting individuals by letter to urge them to seek medical testing. DPH is trying to spread the word by press releases, social media, alerting medical providers, and local community leaders.

Delawareans served by the illegal operation can also contact the DPH Communicable Disease Bureau at 302-744-1050 if they have questions about potential transmission risks.

“No one should ever seek body art services from an unpermitted business,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Establishments regulated by DPH are inspected and must meet requirements for sanitation, proper disposal of needles, use of gloves, and many other items. HIV and hepatitis can all too easily be transmitted if proper precautions are not taken. Before getting any kind of body art done, people should always insist on seeing the DPH permit, which is required to be posted in an obvious place.”

DPH learned about the illegal establishment of an anonymous complaint. The number of customers and the length of time the operation was in business has not been determined.

In addition, state health staff contacted the Division of Professional Regulation’s Board of Cosmetology regarding the of the barbershop to determine if staff are certified to provide services.

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