2013 USA multistate outbreak of hepatitis A infection linked to pomegranate seeds from Turkey
In 2013, an outbreak of hepatitis A made 162 people in 10 states sick after they ate a berry blend product purchased at a national chain store.
CDC detected the outbreak on May 15. Scientists promptly applied whole genome sequencing and other advanced analytic methods to establish that not only were the infecting strains identical, but also belonged to an unusual hepatitis A virus genotype that is rare in the United States.
CDC completed its analysis within a week of receiving samples from the first 20 cases. This automated technology proved to be quicker, simpler and more sensitive than if the samples had been processed by previous methods. As the outbreak spread, other cases also were found to be infected by the same viral strain.
Advanced molecular detection helped CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) link this specific strain of the virus with the outbreak investigation data to identify quickly a shipment of pomegranate seeds from Turkey as the source of the outbreak.
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