Unsanitary tattoo operation ordered to close - followup testing recommended

November 5, 2014

CALGARY – Alberta Health Services (AHS) is advising all individuals who received tattoo services at the residential ‘Pharaohs Tattooing’ operation (located at Unit 8, 3519 Centre Street N.W., Calgary) to be tested for viruses that can be spread through unsanitary tattoo procedures.

“To prevent the spread of infection from one person to another, equipment used in tattooing must be cleaned, disinfected and sterilized according to health standards,” says Dr. Judy MacDonald, Medical Officer of Health with the Calgary Zone of AHS. “This particular home-based tattoo operation did not have these proper sterilization or sanitation processes in place, meaning individuals who received tattoos through this operation may have been exposed to viruses, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.”

Anyone who received tattoos at the Pharaohs Tattooing operation should call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465 (LINK) to arrange for simple, confidential testing for these viruses. The results of testing will be used to determine whether an individual is infected.

AHS ordered the closure of the Pharaohs Tattooing operation on Oct. 30, 2014. This closure order remains in effect and will not be lifted until the operator has addressed all violations noted in the closure order, and is capable of providing tattoo services in accordance with all regulations and legislation in Alberta. The operator is not permitted to offer tattoo services while the closure order is in place.

“It is the responsibility of all tattoo facility operators to ensure all regulations are met and operations are compliant. This applies not only before opening a tattoo operation, but also while operating, always. Our health inspectors support these businesses to operate safely: we are here as a resource,” says Dr. MacDonald.

All Albertans are reminded to confirm that a tattoo operation is routinely inspected before receiving any tattoo services, from any facility.

To confirm that any tattoo operation in the Calgary Zone is routinely inspected, individuals can call AHS Environmental Public Health at 403-943-2288. Closure orders issued by AHS are also posted online at:

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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