Public Health Notice: Outbreak of Hepatitis A infections linked to frozen mangoes

OTTWA, ON, July 31, 2021 /CNW/ –
Why you should take…

OTTWA, ON, July 31, 2021 /CNW/ –

Why you should take note

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Hepatitis A infections occurring in Québec and Nova Scotia. The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as recent illnesses continue to be reported to PHAC.

Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to frozen mangoes has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Two of the individuals who became sick reported consuming frozen mangoes before their illnesses occurred. Leftover frozen mangoes were collected from the homes of ill individuals and tested positive for Hepatitis A.

The CFIA has issued a food recall warning for various frozen mangoes sold under various brands. The recalled products have been distributed in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and may have been distributed in other provinces and territories. More information on the recalled products is available on CFIA’s website.

Canadians are advised not to eat any recalled food products. If you suspect you have been exposed to recalled products, or have symptoms consistent for Hepatitis A, see your health care provider immediately. Vaccination can prevent the onset of symptoms if given within 14 days of exposure. This notice contains more advice on how to avoid getting sick.

This public health notice will be updated as the investigation evolves.

Investigation summary

As of July 31, 2021, there are three laboratory-confirmed cases of Hepatitis A illness being investigated in the following provinces: Québec (2), and Nova Scotia (1). Individuals became sick between late March 2021 and mid June 2021. No hospitalizations or deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 23 and 63 years of age. The majority of cases (67%) are female.

The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and six weeks.

Who is most at risk

Hepatitis A infections can occur among people of all ages; however, although rare, the severity of illness increases with age. Those with underlying liver disease are also at increased risk for severe illness.

If you have been exposed to Hepatitis A it is possible to spread the virus to other people before you experience any symptoms.

What should you do to protect your health

  • If you have recalled frozen mangoes in your home, do not eat them.
  • If you suspect you have been exposed to recalled products, or have symptoms consistent for Hepatitis A, see your health care provider immediately. Vaccination can prevent the onset of symptoms if given within 14 days of exposure.
  • If you are unsure whether a frozen mango product you have in your home is part of the food recall warning, do not consume it. Secure the product in a plastic bag, throw it out and wash your hands with warm soapy water.
  • If you order food and drinks containing frozen mangoes at a restaurant or food establishment, ask the staff whether the mangoes are part of the food recall warning. If they are, or if they don’t know, don’t eat or drink these food products.
  • Wash and sanitize any drawers or shelves in fridge and freezer areas where recalled products were stored.
  • Wash your hands before and after preparing or eating food, and after using the washroom or changing diapers.
  • If you have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, do not prepare or serve food and drinks to others.
  • If you have been exposed to Hepatitis A, it is possible to spread the virus to other people before you experience any symptoms.

Symptoms

Not everyone who is infected will have symptoms. Symptoms are more likely to occur in adults than in children. Symptoms of hepatitis A include:

  • fever
  • dark urine
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • stomach cramps or abdominal pain
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

After you have been exposed to hepatitis A, symptoms typically appear 14 to 28 days later, but may occur up to 50 days later.

Symptoms usually last less than two months. Mild symptoms may last only one or two weeks, while severe symptoms can last up to nine months.

What is the Government of Canada doing

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health of Canadians from enteric disease outbreaks.

The Public Health Agency of Canada leads the human health investigation into an outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal, provincial and territorial partners to monitor the situation and to collaborate on steps to address an outbreak.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine whether the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

Additional information

 

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada