|Terio, Valentina - University Of Bari|
|Bonerba, Elisabetta - University Of Bari|
|Bottaro, Marilisa - University Of Bari|
|Chironna, Maria - University Of Bari|
|Catella, Cristiana - University Of Bari|
|Dipinto, Angela - University Of Bari|
|Bozzo, Giancarlo - University Of Bari|
|Martella, Vito - University Of Bari|
Submitted to: Food and Environmental Virology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2015
Publication Date: 6/15/2016
Citation: Terio, V., Bonerba, E., Bottaro, M., Chironna, M., Catella, C., Dipinto, A., Bozzo, G., Kingsley, D.H., Martella, V. 2016. Outbreak of Hepatitis A virus in Italy associated with frozen red currents imported from Poland: A case study. Food and Environmental Virology. 7:305-308.
Interpretive Summary: Foodborne hepatitis A remains a substantial problem in the Southern Mediterranean. This manuscript reports detection of Hepatitis A virus in frozen red currant berries imported into Italy which were purchased at local markets in Bari, Italy. Strain identification showed that the strain detected was substantially similar to the endemic strain already known to be circulating in southern Italy.
Technical Abstract: During 2013 Italy experienced an increase in cases of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection and the epidemic HAV strain has been characterized as genotype IA. Preliminary epidemiological, microbiological and environmental investigations suggested mixed frozen berries as the possible vehicle of infection, as most patients reported consumption of mixed berries or food containing mixed berries, although this was not demonstrated firmly. By screening frozen mixed berries from groceries, HAV RNA was identified in a batch of imported non-packaged frozen red current. Upon sequence and phylogenetic analysis, the HAV strain was found to cluster tightly with genotype IA HAVs identified from the 2012-2013 Italian epidemic, providing additional evidence that berries are the source of the HAV epidemic.