Division of Public Health shuts down illegal tattoo operation in Selbyville

SELBYVILLE — Delaware’s Division of Public Health is urging public awareness after DPH’s Health Systems Protection staff on Nov. 28 ordered closure of an un-permitted body art 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 grossly unsanitary conditions, according to information provided by Andrea Wojcik, Division of Public Health’s chief of community relations/FOIA coordinator.

DPH encourages customers who may have received tattooing or other body art services at this location to contact their health care provider for evaluation for diseases such as hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that may have been transmitted through unsterile equipment.

Customers are urged to tell the doctor about receiving a tattoo or piercing from the unregulated establishment, when it occurred, and any symptoms since the visit.

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.

Dr. Karyl Rattay

“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.”

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.

DPH learned about the illegal establishment from an anonymous complaint.

At this time, it is not known how many customers were served or how long the operation was in business. Investigation is ongoing. In addition, HSP staff have contacted the Division of Professional Regulation’s Board of Cosmetology regarding the closure of the barbershop to determine if staff are certified to provide barbering services, according to DPH news release.

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