09/14/2011 08:29 EDT | Updated 01/12/2012 02:19 EST

Alberta clients of tattoo operators urged to get tested for viruses

WETASKIWIN, Alta. - Alberta Health officials are urging people who got tattoos from unapproved tattoo operators in Wetaskiwin and Leduc to get tested for viruses.

The province says Darren Kennaway and Thomas (Tom) Kennedy are known to have tattooed, without approval, in a Wetaskiwin home located at 5414 - 55 Avenue; at private residences in Wetaskiwin and Leduc; and potentially, at other private residences throughout central Alberta.

Alberta Health says these operators had been tattooing for at least the past two years and both have been issued orders under the Public Health Act to cease all operations immediately.

Dr. Digby Horne, medical officer of health for the central zone, says these operators did not have proper sterilization processes in place.

He says everyone who received tattoos from them, in any location, may have been exposed to viruses such as Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.

Simple blood tests can determine whether an individual has been infected and people can arrange for confidential testing through Alberta Health Communicable Disease at 403-356-6420.