Australia

Hepatitis A cases in NSW linked to frozen fruit

The cases have been linked to imported frozen pomegranate products. Source: Getty

NSW Health is urging people who have bought imported frozen pomegranate from Coles not to eat it, after it was linked to cases of hepatitis A.

Seven cases of hepatitis A in NSW have been traced back to imported frozen pomegranate products from Coles supermarkets.

The patients are based in Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast, NSW Health said late on Friday evening.

Genetic testing on some of the cases identified a unique strain of the infection and health authorities are urging anyone who's bought the frozen fruit from Coles not to eat it.

NSW Health spokeswoman Dr Vicky Sheppeard said symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, vomiting, fever, a yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stool.

They can take between 15 and 150 days to develop.

"It is caused by a virus that spreads in contaminated food or through poor hygiene," Dr Sheppeard said in a statement.

"People who have eaten frozen pomegranate from Coles should consult their local doctor as early as possible should symptoms appear."

If not already vaccinated, those who have eaten the fruit may benefit from a vaccination.

NSW authorities are working with other states and territories to confirm if the infection can be definitively linked to the Coles product and whether there are locally-acquired cases of the infection elsewhere.

NSW Food Authority chief executive Lisa Szabo said fresh pomegranate has not been implicated, nor have Australian-grown frozen products.

This year, there have been nine locally-acquired cases of hepatitis A in NSW.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch