PULASKI, Va. — A rise in hepatitis C cases has led to the arrests of tattoo artists in southwest Virginia.

The Roanoke Times reported Sunday that more people could be charged as the investigation continues.

Police in Pulaski, Virginia, arrested four men in June for unlicensed tattooing, a misdemeanor offense. Hepatitis is a viral infection that can damage people’s livers, sometimes fatally.

Police Chief Gary Roche and attorneys working on the cases said they could not recall similar charges in the region’s courts.

Pulaski police issued a warning in May that hepatitis C had been spread by unclean and unlicensed tattooing.

It’s illegal in Virginia to charge money for tattoos without a license. And health departments are required to inspect tattoo parlors.

Information from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com

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