This study describes an outbreak investigation of 14 hepatitis A cases in the Netherlands. The hepatitis A virus (HAV) genotype IB sequences in cases were highly similar (459/460 nt). The origin of strains could be narrowed to Bulgaria based on information from EPIS-FWD. As an association with consumption of soft fruit was suspected, a case–control study was initiated using a questionnaire and a list of pictures of soft fruit available at the supermarket chain involved. Twelve out of 13 cases consumed a specific frozen raspberry/blueberry product shown on the list (OR 46.0, 95% CI 5.0–27). In multivariable regression analysis this product was the only risk factor (aOR 26.6, 95% CI 2.0–263). Laboratory analyses could not demonstrate HAV-RNA in batches that had been on the market in the incubation period of patients. Trace back of frozen fruit showed that raspberries had been traded by a producer in Bulgaria. After withdrawal of the product from the supermarket no new cases were reported. Use of advertisement pictures of consumed food was helpful in this investigation. Suspicion of the source was strengthened by data from molecular typing and food trace back activities, underlining the importance of good (inter)national cooperation between public health and food safety organisations.
- Soft fruit