The Deputy Chief Health Officer has updated the alert of frozen berries associated with Hepatitis A (24 February). The update reflects increased case numbers and further guidance for health professionals.
- The consumption of Nanna’s Fresh Frozen Mixed Berry 1kg packet has been linked with hepatitis A infection in 18 cases Australia wide with three confirmed in Victoria. This product has been recalled. As a precaution, three further products have also been recalled — Nanna’s Fresh Frozen Raspberries 1kg, Creative Gourmet Frozen Mixed Berries 300 gram and 500 gram packets.
- Advise your patient not to consume any recalled product, and to discard or return the product to point of sale for a refund.
- Do not test well patients for hepatitis A virus infection, as tests are not useful until symptoms have developed.
- Do not vaccinate for hepatitis A because of berry exposure, as the absolute risk from this exposure is extremely low, and vaccine must be given within 14 days of an exposure to have any protective effect.
- Check if your patient has a routine indication for hepatitis A vaccine, such as chronic liver disease, chronic hepatitis C infection, or planned travel to a country with endemic hepatitis A transmission. See the Australian Immunisation Handbook for details.
- Take blood for Hepatitis A total antibody and Hepatitis A IgM antibody in patients who have symptoms compatible with hepatitis A virus infection in the 15-50 days after consumption of berries from a recalled product line. Compatible symptoms are two or more of fever, malaise, abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite and nausea.
- Only take blood for liver function tests and hepatitis A virus PCR testing if there is hepatitis A serology consistent with acute infection OR clinical evidence of hepatitis, such as jaundice. The cost of PCR will be borne by the patient unless these criteria are met.
- Notify any suspected case of hepatitis A infection to the department immediately by calling 1300 651 160 so that timely prophylaxis of contacts can be provided.
- This alert is for health professionals. Consumers should be directed to Berries products recall and Hepatitis A – Information for consumers (www.health.vic.gov.au/chiefhealthofficer/frozen-berries-hepa.htm).