Date
23 March 2017
Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection has found no evidence that blueberries cause hepatitis A. Photos: HKEJ, www.blueberrycouncil.org
Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection has found no evidence that blueberries cause hepatitis A. Photos: HKEJ, www.blueberrycouncil.org

CHP says no hepatitis A link to blueberries

Hong Kong health officials said there is not enough evidence to link blueberries to hepatitis A.

Of the 64 reported Hepatitis A patients in April, only eight had eaten blueberry, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said.

However, the figure dwarfed the 46 infections for the whole of 2014, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday. There were 43 cases in 2012 and 44 in 2013.

No deaths have been reported this year and the new patients, aged between 11 and 83, are in stable situation.

Earlier, at least 24 people in Australia were reported to have contracted hepatitis A after eating a certain brand of mixed berry from China.

Australian authorities recalled the brand but did not ban blueberry imports from China, the reports said.

CHP said Hong Kong has not imported the type of fruit sold in Australia and not all of its imported blueberries are from the mainland.

On Wednesday, social media was gripped with rumors that some people fell ill with hepatitis A after eating blueberries bought from a Wellcome Supermarket store.

Wellcome said it imports fresh blueberries from Brazil, not China, adding it has not received complaints from customers.

However, it refused to say whether the Brazilian blueberries were processed and packed in China.

Customers can apply for refunds or exchange if they have doubts about its blueberries, it said.

The hepatitis A virus is usually transmitted through fecal matter, contaminated drinks and certain shellfish or by person-to-person contact.

Symptoms include high fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Serious infections could cause death.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

KZ/AC/RA

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