Vaccines work: Hepatitis A outbreak in Sweden: Fresh dates from Iran are the suspected source

Outbreak News Today reports the Sweden Public Health Authority, or Folkhälsomyndigheten are reporting an outbreak of hepatitis A where the suspected source of infection is fresh dates from Iran.

Of the nine cases reported since late February, eight of the cases are confirmed and have the same type of hepatitis A virus (genotype IIIA) and one case is suspected.

The cases are between the ages of 28 and 73, five are men and four are women. The cases are from seven different counties (Örebro, Stockholm, Uppsala, Skåne, Södermanland, Kalmar and Halland). The latest case fell on April 16. Common to the cases is that they regularly eat fresh dates.

In the eight confirmed cases, four different strains with genotype IIIA have been detected. Two of these are similar to the tribes that caused an outbreak in Denmark in 2018 linked to dates from Iran. In that outbreak, several variants of genotype IIIA strains could be detected in the cases. One of these outbreak strains could also be detected in dates.

Health officials continue the investigation to identify the source of the outbreak.

Tajikistan concerned over increasing number of botulism cases

Asia Plus reports that Tajik Deputy Prime Minister, Azim Ibrohim, who also heads the Council for Food Safety Issues, has expressed concern about increasing number of botulism cases in Tajikistan. Council for Food Safety Issues reportedly held a meeting here yesterday.

Speaking at the meeting, Ibrohim demanded that heads of good safety management bodies give reports on implementation of the plan of work for the first half-year of 2016.

It was noted that the number of botulism cases has increased in the country and that the home-canned vegetables are the most common cause of botulism.

Ibrohim ordered the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and other relevant bodies to prepare the guide to home canning.

Ibrohim reportedly drew attention of meeting participants to slow introduction of the ISO 22000 standard.


Crackdown on food safety in Iran

Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi, who was speaking on the sidelines of a conference to mark World Food Day, said that no serious reform has taken place in the food sector over the last year, Tasnim reported.

iran-amputation-3_2464258bWorld Food Day is observed globally on October 16.

“What embarrasses us is that why we cannot spot all food safety violators. Or when we ban some unhealthy products, why do they return into market?” Qazizadeh Hashemi said, adding that the problem is in the type of the punishment which has failed so far.

“We are determined not to allow [anybody] to play with people’s health at all and we take measure against [law violators] but we need judicial system as well as executive power to support us,” he stressed.