In the past week, three more cases of hepatitis A have been detected in New Zealand. They have been linked to the recent imported frozen berry outbreak. The Ministry of Health said on Thursday that the number of confirmed cases linked to the outbreak had grown to 18 in total. Of these, nine have been hospitalized.
As of Thursday, 14 of the 18 cases have been sequenced to date – all 14 have an identical sequence profile, indicating they likely came from the same source. Until, and unless, a definitive source is identified, officials continue to advise consumers to exercise care and take precautions by heat-treating all frozen berries to kill the virus.
Ways to do this include briefly boiling frozen berries before eating them or, if you have a food thermometer, ensuring cooking temperatures exceed 85C for one minute. Heated berries can be safely refrozen for later use.