JUST days ago, fish pedicures hit national headlines after a report claimed they could spread HIV and hepatitis C.

But now one of the most popular treatment providers, which recently opened a store in Swindon, has welcomed the report and reassured customers.

Dr Spafish opened in the Brunel Centre in May, and the treatment, which is based around fish nibbling at customers’ toes has been a big hit.

But the news that it may spread diseases may put off some people.

Michael Burke, health and safety expert with Dr Spafish, worked closely with health authority officials to ensure the company’s outlets were compliant with standards.

He has reassured residents in Swindon that specific measures are taken to ensure they are protected during their treatment.

“We have written procedures that cover inspection of clients’ feet to minimise any source of potential infection,” he said.

“Together with our disposable towelling system and our bespoke filtration, designed specifically for commercial fish spa use, we are confident that the public are protected.

“If anyone has a doubt as to whether their local fish spa is safe, I strongly recommend they contact their local Health and Safety Officer and check that the business has been approved”.

HPA consultant epidemiologist Dr Hilary Kirkbride said: “Provided that good standards of hygiene are followed by salons, members of the public are unlikely to get an infection from a fish spa pedicure”.

The alternative treatment gained mass exposure after being featured on the TV show The Only Way is Essex, and fish spas sprung up everywhere across the country.

The walk-in natural pedicure store in Swindon was opened by former mayor Rex Barnett.

It was the second to open in the town. It uses garra rufa fish which work through the build up of hard skin on the heels and soles of the feet, leaving the healthy flesh untouched.