Officials: Niles facility had unsafe piercing practices

Southwest Michigan
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NILES, Mich. (WOOD) — Berrien County officials say customers at a Niles piercing facility may have been exposed to other clients’ blood.

The Berrien County Health Department says it has identified unsafe and unsanitary piercing practices at Paparazzi Tattoo & Body Piercing in Niles.

The department says it has suspended the facility’s operating license. 

As a precaution, health officials are urging people who have ever got their naval, tongue, nipples, genitals or dermal pierced there to get their blood tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

According to the department, people who received body piercings there might be at increased risk due to improper sterilization of metal forceps used in those procedures.

As of Tuesday, health officials say it has not identified any cases that are associated with the practices at the facility.

Customers who had their ear or nose pierced are not at risk and do not have to get their blood tested, officials say.

Health officials say it is working to notify people who received body piercings at the facility.

The department notes people who have viruses like hepatitis C or HIV may not have symptoms for years. However, people with viruses should get treatment, even if they don’t have symptoms. Testing will not be able to identify where the infection occurred, officials say.

People with questions are asked to call the health department at 800.815.5485 or visit its website.

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