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Health Unit issues alert over unsterilized piercing equipment

SIMCOE, ON, OCT. 7, 2008 – Haldimand or Norfolk residents who used the services of Venom Ink, a tattoo/piercing establishment located in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, are being urged to get a blood test.

Niagara Region Public Health, which is investigating Venom Ink for the use of non-sterile piercing instruments and equipment, has notified the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit that Delhi area residents may have been among the shop’s clients.

Venom Ink operated at 90 Lake St., St. Catharines, in July and August 2008, and currently operates at 5842 Ferry St., Niagara Falls, opening in September 2008.

“Client records were not detailed,” said local Health Unit Communicable Disease Coordinator Abidi Shuyab. “However, Niagara tells us the operators indicated there may have been clients from our area, specifically Delhi. Anyone from Haldimand or Norfolk who received piercing services at either location of Venom Ink should see a physician or visit a walk-in clinic and ask for a blood test for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), hepatitis B and hepatitis C.”

At this time, there is no evidence of transmission of these infectious diseases, but there is always a risk because of the use of the non-sterile equipment.

In addition, anyone who received piercing services from this establishment should contact the Health Unit and take precautions until evidence of transmission for infectious diseases can be ruled out. Affected individuals are encouraged to use a condom during sexual activity and to avoid sharing razors, clippers, toothbrushes and other personal items.

For further information on safety precautions and practices when getting a tattoo or piercing, check the Health Unit website at or contact the Communicable Disease team at 519-426-6170.

Media contact:
Robert Roth, Communications Coordinator
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext. 3259 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3259