Hepatitis threat from frozen pomegranate

ACT Health is investigating a case of hepatitis A in the ACT that may be linked to a cluster of cases in NSW, in which seven people have consumed imported frozen pomegranate sold through Coles stores.

ACT Health is advising consumers who have bought imported frozen pomegranate from Coles supermarkets to not eat the product and dispose of it.

Overnight, NSW Health has identified seven locally acquired cases of hepatitis A, all consumed from an imported product purchased from Coles.

NSW Health is working with other states and territories to determine the prevalence in other jurisdictions and ACT Health is assisting with this investigation.

Symptoms of hepatitis A take from 15 to 50 days to develop. It is caused by a virus that spreads in contaminated food or through poor hygiene.

Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fever and yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools.

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

Those who have consumed the product in the past two weeks may benefit from hepatitis A vaccination, if not already protected. If you are unsure if you have been vaccinated in the past it is safe to be re-vaccinated – check with your local general practitioner.

In most people the symptoms of hepatitis A resolve after a few weeks with supportive treatment, mainly rest and fluids.

The NSW Food Authority is working with Coles and state and Commonwealth agencies to minimise the risk to consumers, which appears to be linked to an imported frozen product. The NSW Food Authority says fresh pomegranate is not implicated nor Australian-grown frozen pomegranate products.


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