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Published On: Sun, Jul 21st, 2013

Ireland hepatitis A outbreak rises to 10 cases, linked to imported frozen berries

In a follow-up to a story last week, The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) Friday advised that it is investigating a food poisoning outbreak of Hepatitis A virus associated with the consumption of imported frozen berries.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

The outbreak is prompting health officials to advise the public to boil all imported frozen berries for at least one minute prior to eating to avoid infection.

What was three cases reported earlier, has jumped to 10 cases according to reports from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, the National Virus Laboratory and the Health Service Executive.

The FSAI states that in Italy there is currently an outbreak of the same strain of Hepatitis A virus,  Hepatitis A genotype 1A ,as that identified in Ireland, which is also linked to the consumption of imported frozen berries.  Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland are similarly dealing with outbreaks of Hepatitis A virus linked to imported frozen berries, however, the strain of Hepatitis A virus in the Scandinavian outbreak is different to that identified in Ireland and Italy.

“The source of this outbreak is not known yet, but all indications are pointing towards imported frozen berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackberries and strawberries, according to Chief Executive, FSAI, Prof. Alan Reilly.

“At this stage of the investigation, there is no evidence to suggest that fresh Irish or fresh imported berries are implicated.  Therefore, as a precautionary measure, we are advising consumers to boil all imported frozen berries for at least one minute before eating them to destroy the virus.  Also we remind consumers to wash all fresh berries, and other fruit and vegetables if eating them uncooked.

“Frozen imported berries are widely used in the food industry and distributed into the food service sector for use in cooked and ready-to-eat dishes.  The food sector needs to also take particular care to boil frozen imported berries for at least one minute prior to serving to its customers.  Food businesses must always ensure they source their ingredients from reputable suppliers with efficient and comprehensive traceability and food safety management systems,” Prof. Reilly concludes.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that as of the 15th July, 2013, 147 people across eight States have been confirmed to have become ill from Hepatitis A genotype 1B (the same genotype as seen in Scandinavia). Illness has been linked to eating a frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Ireland health officials advise public to boil all imported frozen berries due to hepatitis A outbreak - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a follow up to a story in July, The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) yesterday reiterated its advice to consumers […]

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