Infection Control Delay – Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit


July 21, 2023

Infection control notice issued on July 18 by the local health department

What is the risk?
Improperly cleaned and unsanitized items and piercing jewelry can cause skin infections with bacteria and transmit infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and to some extent HIV. The health unit exposure assessment was conducted using information from Piercings by Melissa and in consultation with Public Health Ontario (PHO). At this time, no infection or illness was associated with this condition.

Who is at risk?
All Melissa’s Piercing clients who have had a relationship with LUX Tattoo and Piercing who received services between February 25, 2023 and June 8, 2023.

what should i do?
If you receive a letter, follow the instructions or call 1-800-660-5853 ext 2222

What is the role of the health unit in inspecting private services such as piercing salons?
Under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act and its regulations, health departments are required to inspect private service establishments such as piercing parlors, tattoo parlors, nail salons, and others. Operators must notify and investigate the health department before starting to provide services or making changes to the services they provide. During this inspection, operating instructions are provided and education is conducted around service delivery requirements. Health unit inspection reports are publicly reported and available on the Health Unit website in the Insights section. Health units respond to complaints from the public regarding infection prevention and control practices in personal care facilities as well as any conditions that the health unit investigates. More information about these complaints is available on the Department of Health’s IPAC Complaints website.

What requirements does the Department of Health have for access to Melissa services?
The health unit’s investigation identified only inspection violations related to reusable instruments and piercing jewelry. We have provided Melissa with requirements for piercings, including her services through LUX Tattoos and Piercings, to ensure compliance with public health guidelines under Section 13 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA). These standards include the use of single-use equipment and pre-sterilized jewelry, which does not require cleaning and sanitizing. No other inspection violations have been found at this time that would prevent Melissa Piercing from providing piercing services that meet public health standards. If they choose to use reusable equipment in the future, we are working with the operator to comply with guidelines regarding cleaning and sterilization, including reducing the risk of infection.

Information about IPAC offenses

  • Health units are mandated to inspect and monitor sites on complaints related to Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) to assess the risk of infection and determine the appropriate public health response. Abnormalities of IPAC practices, called IPAC latency, lead to transmission of infectious diseases.
  • In some cases, particularly where there is a high risk of blood-borne infections, at-risk clients are contacted directly (by letter) by the health department due to the delay in IPAC.
    • Note: There is a risk of infection with any delay, but we do not send a letter in all cases – usually only in procedures involving invasive procedures where the risk of infection is related to blood borne diseases..
  • The health department is required to notify the public of all IPAC deficiencies by posting them on our website.
  • If you would like more information about a potential threat, contact 1-800-660-5853 ext 2222.

Resources about personal services procedures and blood-borne infections

Information about checking personal service settings

  • Health departments are required to inspect personal service settings (PSS) such as piercings, tattoo parlors, nail salons, and others.
  • Always look for a facility to show you a certificate from the health unit.
  • The health department inspection reports are publicly available and can be found on the health department website in the specified section Awareness.
  • If you wish to make a complaint about infection control practices in a private care setting, complete the forms here: Infection Control Complaint Form – Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.

Information about beauty and body art safety

The Health Department has resources on beauty and body art safety so you can make informed decisions about services.

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