South East Wales

Five get 'serious infections' after Newport tattoo studio visit

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Media captionDr Gill Richardson said five people needed hospital treatment and some had reconstructive surgery

People who used a piercing and tattoo studio in Newport have been offered precautionary health checks after five customers who had piercings all suffered serious skin infections.

Officials have sent out letters to 550 clients offering them a blood test.

The studio traded as Blue Voodoo, Sun Tattoo Studio and Flesh Wound at two premises at Commercial Street, Newport, between May 2013 and January 2015.

The warning has been issued by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

The people who suffered skin infections all needed hospital treatment and some had reconstructive surgery, according to Dr Gill Richardson, director of public health for the health board.

She said the connection was spotted by a "diligent" junior doctor who treated four of them.

The health board said the confirmed cases could also indicate a low risk of transmission of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C and an extremely low risk of HIV transmission for all clients of these premises.

A blood test to check for all three has been offered to people who had a piercing or tattoo.

Image caption People who had piercings or tattoos are being offered blood tests as a precaution

Officials stressed that the risk of picking up any blood borne infections through piercing or tattooing is "very small".

In a news conference on Wednesday, health officials said the registered business is subject to ongoing investigations by Newport council's environmental health team and has ceased trading.

A series of clinics with specialist nurses have been set up in the health board area for people who receive a letter.

A helpline has been set up for others who had a piercing or tattoo at the business but do not receive a letter by Friday to get in touch.

Dr Brendan Mason, consultant epidemiologist for Public Health Wales, said no cases of HIV transmission from tattooing or piercing have been documented worldwide.

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