Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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Following the notification of nine hepatitis A cases clustered in the Côtes d'Armor district in northwestern France, epidemiological, environmental and microbiological investigations were set up in order to identify the source and vehicle of contamination and implement control measures. In total, 111 cases were identified in the outbreak, all of whom lived or had stayed as tourists in the Côtes d'Armor district. Of the cases, 87% had eaten raw shellfish, and 81% specifically oysters. Traceback investigations carried out on raw shellfish consumed by the cases showed that the raw shellfish originated from a single shellfish farm. The shellfish were probably contaminated either in the submersible tanks or in a depuration land-based tank where they were stored. The source of contamination was not identified but shellfish could have been tainted by sewage overflows or by wastewater releases from a polluted storm sewer close to the shellfish farm or from on-site sanitation facilities. To prevent future hepatitis A outbreaks due to shellfish consumption from this area, hazards specific to each farm should be analysed. Timely information on sewage overflows should also be part of communities' efforts regarding sewage collection and treatment. .


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