A woman in Australia died after eating frozen pomegranate seeds that were linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A, health officials announced this week.
The 64-year-old woman’s death is the first in the hepatitis A outbreak tied to pomegranate seeds that has sickened 24 people in Australia, according to SA Health, the public health system in South Australia. Although the product tied to the outbreak — packets of Creative Gourmet’s frozen pomegranate arils — was recalled two months ago, it can take up to seven weeks for people to show symptoms of the viral illness after they’ve been infected, SA Health said in a June 5 statement.
But how do you die from a hepatitis A infection?
People who die from a hepatitis A infection usually have an underlying liver disease, such as an infection with the virus hepatitis B or C, or alcoholic liver disease, that already caused damage to their liver.
“If you have hepatitis C and are infected with hepatitis A on top of that, that could lead to a fatal infection,” Adalja told Live Science. It’s unclear, however, if the woman in Australia had an underlying liver disease.