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Health department advises of possible contamination risk

November 16, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Although the risk of contamination is minimal, those who received a piercing or tattoo from a local business might want to consult with their doctor since the business was not able to provide adequate paperwork that equipment was properly sterilized, according to a county health official.

No cases of any disease transmission linked to Voodoo 2 Tattoo have been reported, said Diana Gaviria, health officer with the Berkeley County Health Department.

Voodoo 2 Tattoo was not able to provide proper quality control records for sterilization for the months of March to October of this year. The records concern the sterilization of clamps, forceps and other equipment - quality control tests that are required by the state to be performed monthly, she said.

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Mike Moore, who bought the business in January, maintained that his customers have no reason to worry.

"The machine (that sterilizes equipment) has worked fine and it always has worked fine," Moore said. "We show every customer everything that's about to be used on them is sterilized."

Moore said a former employee was responsible for making sure the monthly tests were done, but had lapsed in that responsibility.

Moore also emphasized that he does not make his own needles, but buys prepackaged and presterilized needles from a manufacturer. Each needle is used once and then thrown away, he said.

Gaviria said that from March to October, more than 850 people received a piercing or tattoo from the shop. Each is being sent a letter warning of possible transmission of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV.

Although no problems have been reported, Gaviria said it is important for people to be aware of the slight possibility.

"This is considered to be a very low risk by everyone involved," Gaviria said.

The business previously was in a shopping plaza near Martinsburg Mall, behind a Blockbuster video store. It recently moved to the intersection of Winchester Avenue and Apple Harvest Drive.

The business was shut down for a few days earlier this month until the Health Department verified that quality control tests were done for November, Gaviria said.

Moore said the sterilization machine was rebuilt recently and sterilizes equipment at nearly 300 degrees and using 40 pounds of pressure per square inch.

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