As the United States continues to contend with a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV), reports out of Europe show eight EU countries are also facing a rise in new infections. Unlike in the states, where homelessness and injection drug use are driving new infections, traveling abroad appears to be the source, Food Safety News reports.
From January to June 2018, two distinct strains of hepatitis A have been causing infections, all of which have been traced back to travel in Morocco, a popular destination for European tourists. The U.K. has the highest number of cases. Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden have also reported a major increase in new infections. The total number of those affected in both outbreaks appears to be 163 people so far.
In a recent assessment, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said the relative similarity between both strains suggested a foodborne transmission spread by a single food product distributed in several EU countries. Later, investigators linked many of the cases to dates people ate while on their trips to the North African country.
European Health officials noted that the hepatitis A outbreaks demonstrate the importance of receiving a hepatitis A vaccination before traveling abroad.