Tuesday December 15, 2015
Genotyping and sequencing results from the fifth case of Hepatitis A has indicated that the virus strain is indistinguishable from the other four recently reported cases linked to the consumption of imported frozen mixed berries. The case had a history of consumption of Fruzio brand frozen mixed berries within the incubation period for Hepatitis A.
The Ministry for Primary Industries media release can be found here: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/strain-in-fifth-hepatitis-a-case-confirmed/
Investigations are continuing into the four cases of Hepatitis A thought to be linked to imported frozen berries. The Ministry for Primary Industries have informed the Ministry that further Fruzio products have now been recalled.
In addition to their Fruzio Mixed Berry 1kg and 500g products, which contain strawberries and blackberries, the following have also been recalled:
- Fruzio IQF Strawberry 1kg
- Fruzio IQF Blackberry 1kg
- Fruzio IQF 3 Mixed Berry 1kg (blackberries, strawberries and blueberries).
The MPI media statement can be found here.
We will continue to update you on this complex and evolving situation.
Information on Hepatitis A for health professionals
Signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A can include fever, malaise, anorexia, nausea or abdominal discomfort, jaundice, and an enlarged tender liver. Children are often asymptomatic and occasionally present with atypical symptoms, including diarrhoea, cough, coryza or arthralgia. Jaundice is very unusual in children younger than 4 years, and occurs in only 10 percent of cases in the 4–6 year age group.
The incubation period for Hepatitis A ranges from 15-50 days. People are most infectious during the 1-2 weeks before and the first few days after the onset of jaundice.
Transmission is by the faecal-oral route, usually person-to-person..
Suspected cases of Hepatitis A should be notified to the local Medical Officer of Health, notification should not await laboratory confirmation.
Laboratory confirmation should be attempted. Laboratory confirmation requires positive Hepatitis A-specific IgM in serum (in the absence of recent vaccination).
For further information on case management and investigation please refer to the Communicable Disease Control Manual. Note that vaccination is usually only recommended for close contacts of confirmed cases.
Further information on Hepatitis A can be found here.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has advised the Ministry of Health that the Chief Executive of MPI has issued a privileged statement warning of a potential risk associated with frozen berries following four human cases of Hepatitis A thought to be linked to packaged imported frozen berries.
MPI is instituting a surveillance programme including additional testing on imported frozen berries.
The MPI Chief Executive privileged statement can be found here.