Hepatitis A linked to frozen berries

Media statement from the Chief Medical Officer regarding Hepatitis A linked to frozen berries.

Page last updated: 26 February 2015

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Media Statement

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer
Professor Chris Baggoley

More specific information to original media release

RE: In a Senate Estimates hearing yesterday we stated that the three people in Victoria showed signs of Hepatitis A in early January,

We add: The first case in Victoria had an onset of symptoms on 3rd January 2015, the second and third cases in Victoria had an onset of symptoms on 1st and 6th February respectively.


26 February 2015

Some media reports today that suggest health authorities waited a month to act from the first case of Hepatitis A linked to frozen berries is misleading and completely wrong.

The first case in Victoria had an onset of symptoms on 3rd January 2015, the second and third cases in Victoria had an onset of symptoms on 1st and 6th February respectively.

These cases were reported to national health authorities when these cases were confirmed and a potential link was established with the consumption of Patties frozen berries. When the link was made Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the Department of Agriculture ensured there was a voluntary recall of a range of berries from Patties Foods and the Federal Department of Health immediately activated a national health response.

As each case was notified they were investigated by state health authorities like all cases of Hepatitis A. A key part of the investigation is collecting and analysing histories of exposure to possible sources of infection. When possible common exposures to a source of infection are identified, further detailed investigation either confirms or dismisses the possible common source. This is important as Hepatitis A infections can arise from sources other than food such as poor personal hygiene or direct contact with infected faecal matter.

In this instance, after investigation of cases and detailed analyses of food consumption histories, the Victorian authorities confirmed a possible association with frozen berries on Thursday 12 February 2015.

The national foodborne disease surveillance network, OzFoodnet, was advised of the association on Friday 13 February 2015, and on the same day discussion with the implicated company was initiated. A voluntary consumer level recall of Nanna’s frozen mixed berries 1 kilogram packs was issued on Saturday 14 February 2015, with subsequent precautionary recalls of Creative Gourmet, made from Sunday 15 February 2015.

We believe the Victorian authorities have acted quickly and diligently in responding to this outbreak.

Updated epidemiology as at 11 am 26 February 2015

There are 19 confirmed cases that meet the reporting case definition:
    • 7 in QLD
    • 7 in NSW
    • 3 in Vic
    • 1 in WA
    • 1 in ACT Note: This is a newly notified case.
Media contact: Kay McNiece, 0412 132 585

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