The hepatitis A virus – an overlooked cause of foodborne disease
Food Safety Watch: Bacteria are by far the most common and best known causes of foodborne illness in the developed world and the food industry is well aware of the risks presented by Salmonella, E. coli O157 and other bacterial pathogens. But there are also a small group of disease-causing viruses that can be transmitted by contaminated food. Noroviruses are the most familiar to many people, but the hepatitis A virus (HAV) is also an important cause of disease worldwide. In 2013 an unexpected spate of foodborne HAV outbreaks in Europe and North America drew attention to the virus as a potential food safety hazard. A closer look at the characteristics of HAV suggests that it would be dangerous to underestimate the threat of the virus in today’s food supply chains.