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Published On: Sun, Mar 16th, 2014

New Zealand warns of hepatitis A potential with apples and peaches

The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) issued a warning earlier concerning a hepatitis A risk associated with certain fresh fruit sold in recent weeks.

They say that a worker  in a Hawke’s Bay packhouse has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A. This individual handled several  varieties of apples and peaches.

Image/Leon Brooks

Image/Leon Brooks

“This worker handled Royal Gala and New Zealand Beauty apples and Golden Queen peaches over a four day period while they would have been infectious. Hepatitis A virus can remain infectious on the surface of fruit for some months and transmit infection to other handlers and consumers”, MPI Deputy Director General Scott Gallacher said.

Gallacher does emphasize the risk is low; however, this is being issued as a precaution.

The ministry stated the affected fruit was sold between February 27 and March 13:

Royal Gala apples from:

All Countdown supermarkets in the North Island.
The following Christchurch retailers – G Morris and Son, Fresh Connection, United Fresh, Edgeware Supervalue.

Golden Queen peaches from:
All Countdown supermarkets in the North Island.
Pak n Save, New World and Four Square supermarkets from Taupo to Kaitaia.

The following Auckland retailers –  Dahua Supermarket (Albany), Lim Chour (K-Road), Fruit World Pioneer Plaza (Henderson), Manukau Fresh Fruit and Vege, Fresh for Less (Henderson), Save Fruit and Vege Shop (Manukau), Green Field Fruit and Vege (Green Bay), New Lynn Fresh.

Also Fresh World in Hawera.

New Zealand Beauty apples from:
All Countdown, Fresh Choice and Super Value supermarkets in the South Island.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis A is a contagious liver diseasethat results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.

Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter,even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.

Not everyone has symptoms. If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after becoming infected and can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and jaundice.

There is no specific treatment once symptoms appear, but a vaccination can help lessen the effects of the disease if given within 14 days of exposure.

The best way to control the spread of hepatitis A and many other illnesses is through proper hand washing, especially after using the restroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food. Hand washing should include 20 seconds of vigorous soaping of all parts of the hands, especially between fingers and under fingernails.

The Ministry recommends people who bought potentially affected fruit between 27 February and 13 March 2014 to either cook the fruit well before eating, or if in doubt, throw it out.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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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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