US and Canada investigating strawberries linked to hepatitis A outbreaks
Several health agencies in the United States and Canada are investigating outbreaks of hepatitis A potentially linked to organic strawberries purchased in March and April.
The US Food and Drug Administration warns consumers not to eat food FreshKampo and HEB strawberry brands are sold in major grocery stores including Aldi, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and other major chains.
“Epidemiological and tracking data show that fresh organic strawberries sold as FreshKampo and HEB brands purchased between March 5, 2022 and April 25, 2022, are a potential cause of disease in this outbreak,” the agency said.
The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, along with state and local partners, are investigating the infection, according to an announcement.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the cases of hepatitis A reported in California, Minnesota and Canada are from people who bought organic brands of strawberries.
A total of 17 cases have been reported in the United States, including 15 in California, one in Minnesota, one in North Dakota, and 12 hospitalized. The last outbreak of the disease was reported on April 30.
While strawberries are now past their shelf life, the FDA has warned that people who may have frozen the fruit should throw it away. The agency also encouraged people to contact their health care provider if they thought they had symptoms of hepatitis A.
These symptoms can include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and other illnesses, and usually occur after someone eats or drinks contaminated food or water.
The strawberry-related outbreak comes amid a worldwide outbreak of hepatitis in children.
The World Health Organization said on Sunday that 650 cases of acute hepatitis B infection in children were reported in 33 countries between April 5 and May 26.
The CDC has released new guidance on testing for adenovirus in children as a possible cause of the pediatric outbreak, but it remains unclear whether the two are linked.