ECDC reports hepatitis A outbreak in Nordic countries

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported on Tuesday that there have been 64 confirmed cases 42 probable cases of hepatitis A infection in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden since October 1.

The probable case definition for people who were infected with hepatitis A shows them as residents of one of the four Nordic countries with no travel history outside of Western Europe two to six weeks before having symptoms, and with no known risk of contracting hepatitis A. Confirmed cases are defined as people who were infected with a HAV sub-genotype IB sequence identical to one of the two closely related sequences identified in this outbreak.

There has been a steep decrease in the number of HAV cases related to the outbreak in recent months. The ECDC suspects that this is because the vehicle of contamination, which is believed to be frozen berries, has been found and dealt with. Because of the long shelf life of the berries, however, the ECDC said there is a possibility of more cases.

The ECDC is continuing to monitor this outbreak in affected countries. There are other cases being investigated in Ireland and Italy, and the rapid risk assessment issued on April 15 remains the same.