The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating a potential link between a hepatitis A outbreak and fresh organic strawberries.
The FDA with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and state and local partners, said the strawberries were branded as FreshKampo and HEB and purchased between March 5 and April 25.
They were distributed nationwide and sold at a number of retailers including Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets and WinCo Foods.
The potentially affected strawberries are now past their shelf life, FDA said, but people who froze them for later use should not eat them.
“If you are unsure of what brand you purchased, when you purchased your strawberries, or where you purchased them from prior to freezing them, the strawberries should be thrown away,” the FDA cautioned.
Seventeen hepatitis cases have been identified in California, Minnesota and North Dakota, which have led to 12 hospitalizations, FDA said. Traceback investigations show that cases in California, Minnesota and Canada reported having purchased the strawberries. More products may be included as the investigation is ongoing. People became ill between March 28 and April 30.
FDA also recommends that anyone who purchased and ate the strawberries in the last two weeks who hasn’t been vaccinated against hepatitis A should consult with a health care professional to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis is needed. Anyone who thinks they may have symptoms after eating the strawberries should contact their health care provider.
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According to the CDC, symptoms of hepatitis A usually appear two to seven weeks after infection and typically last less than two months. Not everyone has symptoms, and some people can be ill for as long as six months.
Symptoms can include yellow skin or eyes, not wanting to eat, an upset stomach, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, dark urine or light colored stools, diarrhea, joint pain and feeling tired.
Adults are more likely than children to have symptoms if they are infected.