Northern Territory

Hepatitis A case: reminder to Territorians to throw out frozen pomegranates

Territorians are reminded to throw out any packets of Creative Gourmet brand frozen pomegranates they have after a Darwin resident was recently diagnosed with hepatitis A, most likely acquired from the product.

A national food recall of Creative Gourmet brand frozen pomegranates supplied by Coles was implemented on 7 April 2018 and included all ‘best before’ dates up to and including 21/03/20.

“People were advised not to eat the product and to throw away what was left in their freezers,” Director of Disease Control Dr Vicki Krause said.

“Now that we have a local case which is likely to be related to the pomegranates, we are reminding people to make sure they don’t have any remaining Creative Gourmet pomegranates that may inadvertently get eaten.

“There have been about nine cases of pomegranate-implicated hepatitis A nationally and the cluster is still being investigated by a multi-jurisdictional outbreak team coordinated by the Commonwealth Health Department’s food-borne disease network, OzFoodNet.”

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver and initial symptoms are nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and sometimes diarrhoea. The typical jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes – happens a few days into the illness. Anyone with these symptoms should seek medical advice.

Hepatitis A has an incubation period of up to 50 days, so people should be aware of symptoms and seek medical advice early especially if they have eaten frozen pomegranates during the last 50 days.

The disease is usually mild and cases recover in 2-3 weeks. There is no chronic phase or long-term carriage with hepatitis A like there is with hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis A is passed on to others by the faecal-oral route, that is by the virus in stool contaminating hands, liquids or foods and then being consumed by non-immune or unvaccinated individuals.

Hepatitis A is a rare disease in the NT and doesn’t usually circulate. Since 2011, all 14 cases diagnosed in the NT have been acquired overseas.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease and people are particularly encouraged to have hepatitis A vaccine if they are travelling abroad.

However, as hepatitis A infection has currently been associated with frozen pomegranates, people are reminded to throw out any Creative Gourmet pomegranates they may still have in their freezers at this time.

Further information on Hepatitis A and Hepatitis A vaccine is available from the Centre for Disease Control on 89228044, your local doctor and community care/health centers.

Source: NT Government