Unlicensed Tyler tattoo operation prompts disease control investigation

TYLER, TX (News Release) – The Texas Department of State Health Services is advising anyone who may have received a tattoo at a Tyler apartment to contact their doctor or public health officials.

The apartment, located at 2601 N. Broadway Ave., is not a licensed tattoo facility.  Home-based tattoo studios are illegal in Texas.

DSHS issued a cease and desist letter Wednesday to the tattooist for operating a tattoo facility without a license.  A disease control investigation was prompted when DSHS discovered that a person with a communicable disease may have received a tattoo at the location.

DSHS has since discovered at least 20 other people, including minors, who received tattoos at the apartment.  Those individuals are being tested.

Risk of disease transmission exists if standards are not being met and tattoo instruments contaminated with blood are not sterilized or are used inappropriately between clients.

Health officials urge anyone who thinks they received a tattoo at the apartment or at any unlicensed location to contact their health care provider or call DSHS at (903) 533-3330.  All contacts are confidential.  DSHS will provide routine screening and laboratory testing for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C if needed.

DSHS also has referred the matter to the Tyler Police Department and Smith County district attorney's office.

Note: East Texas News reporter Layron Livingston is following developments in this case and will have updates here at KTRE.com and on the East Texas News.