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Imported frozen berries linked to Hepatitis A outbreak

The Food Safety Authority issues warning as Ireland and Italy both hit by same strain of virus.

Image: frozen berries via Shutterstock

EATEN IMPORTED FROZEN berries recently? Then the Food Safety Authority of Ireland have some alarming news – they have been linked to a current outbreak of hepatitis A in the country.

Ten cases of Hepatitis A have been recorded in Ireland and the FSAI, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, the HSE and the National Virus Referency Laboratory have linked half of these cases to the consumption of imported frozen berries.

They do note that there is no link between the virus and fresh Irish berries or fresh imported berries.

Boiling imported frozen berries for at least one minute before eating them will destroy the virus if present, says the FSAI. The berry mixes linked to the virus contain blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackberries and strawberries.

The outbreak in Ireland – and the link to frozen imported berries – coincides with a similar outbreak in Italy. The strain of Hepatitis A identified by both Ireland and Italy in these cases is the same.

There is also evidence of a link between imported frozen berries and Hepatitis A – although a different strain of it than the one in Ireland right now – in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

What is Hepatitis A?

The FSAI says:

It is a disease that can be relatively mild, lasting 1-2 weeks or more severe, lasting months. Severity of symptoms tend to increase with age.

The most common symptoms are fever, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue and abdominal pain, followed within a few days by jaundice. The incubation period (time from exposure to onset of illness) ranges from 15 to 50 days, the average being 28 days.

You can call the FSAI advice line on 1890 336677 if you have concerns that you may be affected.

The FSAI has said that it is still trying to identify the exact brands which may have been tainted and will issue further updates.

Read: Frozen berries blamed for California man’s Hepatitis A>

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