An increase in the number of hepatitis A cases has been reported in the Republic of Ireland. To date, 17 cases have been recorded which is more than twice the annual number in the State. Of the cases, 15 are suspected to have been infected following consumption of frozen berries. Two cases are thought to have acquired the infection from another individual. Hepatitis A cases have been identified throughout the country and range in age from 25 - 58 years.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has not confirmed the source of the outbreak and is advising that all imported frozen berries are boiled before consumption. The withdrawal of imported berries has not been ordered as no common food source has been identified. The hepatitis A virus strain in Ireland is similar to that responsible for a frozen berry outbreak in Italy earlier this year (2013).
Advice for Travellers
Visitors to the Republic of Ireland should be made aware of the outbreak and are advised to follow local advice and maintain a good standard of personal hygiene.