Bakery investigated following Hepatitis A outbreak

©iStock/Michail_Petrov-96

Nine confirmed and nine suspected cases of hepatitis A have been reported in a county in Scotland with a link to a bakery.

NHS Lanarkshire’s Department of Public Health and North Lanarkshire Council Environmental Health said some patients had been discharged while others remain in hospital but all are responding to treatment.

Investigations indicate a possible link to the JB Christie bakery in Airdrie.

Prevent further infection

Implicated products are iced and decorated cakes and pastries produced at the bakery up to and including 27 April.

Dr Josephine Pravinkumar, NHS Lanarkshire consultant in Public Health Medicine, thanked the bakery for helping the investigation to identify any possible source.

“Once informed of the matter, the bakery owners took the decision to temporarily close their bakery and their two retail outlets in Airdrie and Coatbridge immediately and are fully cooperating with environmental health officers and public health staff,” she said.

“All staff at the bakery are being provided with information and support and necessary actions are being taken to prevent any further infection.”

The bakery owners contacted outlets it supplies in North Lanarkshire and one each in Cambuslang and West Lothian asking them to withdraw products from sale.

Re-opening and staff all-clear

Andrew Chisholm, JB Christie managing director, said the health and safety of customers and staff is of paramount importance.

“As soon as we were notified of this possible link, we immediately took the decision to temporarily cease our operations and fully cooperate with environmental health and public health officials. This work is continuing and we hope to be able to resume business as normal as soon as possible.”

Staff at the bakery were blood tested and found to be clear of the infection and all have been vaccinated for Hepatitis A. It was given the all-clear to re-open from today (Tuesday).

The bakery said it had done a deep clean of stores above the day to day cleaning regime, disposed of all fresh ingredients and any foodstuffs which could transmit infection and reviewed and refreshed staff hygiene practices.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection which leads to inflammation of the liver and can cause mild to severe illness.

Infection can be caused by hand to mouth contact of something contaminated by the faeces of someone with hepatitis A. This could be food or water or by putting hands in the mouth.

Dr Pravinkumar added: “While the risk is very low, if anyone does experience a flu-like illness, loss of appetite, nausea, fever, abdominal pains or jaundice (a yellowing of the eyes or skin), they should contact NHS24 on 111 or their GP in the usual way.”

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