Leavenworth police have received several leads since warning the public earlier this week about unlicensed tattoo artists operating in the city.
A Leavenworth youth, who allegedly received a tattoo from an unlicensed artist, tested positive for hepatitis C in preliminary tests. He was one of four high school-aged youths who visited the artist. On Friday, Police Chief Pat Kitchens said more testing revealed the youth had not contracted hepatitis C.
Regardless, the chief remains concerned about unlicensed artists operating in Leavenworth.
“Fortunately for the young man, it was just a scare,” Kitchens said.
Medical concerns prompted his department to issue a warning about unlicensed artists operating in Leavenworth, even before all testing was complete.
“There’s a reason why tattoo artists have to be licensed,” he said “When you get a tattoo, there’s an exchange of bodily fluids. And it is very, very important that this is done with the proper sanitation and proper care of the equipment and those kinds of things.
“If you get involved in something like this, the health risks are very substantial. So you want to be very careful about doing that.”
In addition, Kitchens stressed that HIV and a variety of other blood-borne conditions could also be contracted if proper sanitation and care were lacking.
Police have identified three suspects, but have made no arrests, Kitchens said. The four youths allegedly received the tattoos without parental consent, which is a state requirement for people under 18. The city of Leavenworth also requires tattoo parlors to be licensed. Prison City Tattoo is the only licensed parlor in Leavenworth.
Anyone with information about unlicensed tattoo artists is asked to call police Sgt. Jim Bridges, (913) 651-2260.