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Hep A link to berries still being probed

HEALTH authorities have been unable to pinpoint the exact source of a Hepatitis A outbreak linked to berries, that has now infected at least 16 people in Ireland.

Although imported frozen berries are believed to be the source, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) said the lengthy incubation period of the liver disease made it very difficult to pinpoint an exact batch. The two most recent cases in Ireland were in early August – but the people affected were probably exposed to the virus a month earlier, making it difficult to trace exactly which products they ate.

Hepatitis A causes nausea, fatigue and abdominal pain followed by the onset of jaundice.

Imported frozen berries had been the prime suspect because cases of an identical strain had been linked to their consumption in Italy. However, tests on various frozen berries and foods containing them had so far proved negative for the disease.

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