Source of infection identified: strawberries from Poland contaminated with hepatitis A virus

Strawberries frozen from Poland infected with hepatitis A.

In Austria and Sweden, there have been numerous hepatitis A diseases in recent months. Researchers have now identified the source of infection: frozen frozen strawberries.

Strawberries have been identified as the source of hepatitis A

According to a report by the scientific journal Eurosurveillance, 20 cases of hepatitis A were reported in six districts of Sweden between June and September 2018, of which 17 confirmed and three probable. "In the combined epidemiological and microbiological studies, imported frozen strawberries produced in Poland have been identified as the source of the outbreak," the newspaper said. In Austria, hepatitis A diseases have also been associated with strawberries from the same producer.

Swedish and Austrian researchers have identified strawberries as a source of infection for many diseases of hepatitis A in their countries. (Image: Tim UR /

The fruits were not sufficiently heated before consumption

According to "Eurosurveillance", studies conducted in Sweden showed that all infected people had consumed strawberries within 30 days before the onset of the disease.

These were consumed in the form of strawberry smoothies or desserts in juice bars, nursing homes, a hotel, a restaurant and a school.

"Exams and interviews with kitchen staff showed that strawberries had never been sufficiently warmed up before they were served, strawberries were the only common food in all cases," say the Swedish experts.

New genotype

The genotype of hepatitis A virus found in Sweden was also found in Austria.

According to the Agency for Food Safety (AGES), a total of 15 cases with this new genotype were detected by the Reference Center for Hepatitis A (Center of Virology, Medical University of Vienna) from July 2018 (starting from 10 October 2018).

"The epidemiological studies of AGES as a source of outbreaks with frozen strawberries at the highest probability of a Polish producer", writes the agency.

According to information, frozen strawberries were distributed by wholesalers. "Austrian customers were asked to heat frozen strawberries from the Polish producer before using them further," says AGES.

Flu-like symptoms

Hepatitis A is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis A virus that is transmitted through infections by smear and contaminated food. The main symptom is acute inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).

In principle, hepatitis may vary depending on the type of virus, but at the beginning it usually shows more general symptoms such as fatigue, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, mild fever and vomiting.

Subsequently, other typical signs such as dark urine, a slight bowel movement and yellow eyes or skin ("jaundice") may be added.

The best protection against hepatitis A is vaccination, available for children 12 months and older. (To)


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