Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Organic Strawberries
Minnesota state officials have confirmed a link between the recent hepatitis A outbreak and fresh, organic strawberries. It’s reported that 17 people nationwide are sick.
FreshKampo and HEB brands are linked to the outbreak. The Minnesota Department of Health, California Department of Health, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are working with other state, federal, and Canadian agencies to investigate this link.
Currently, there is one hepatitis A case confirmed in Minnesota. The Department of Health states the strawberries were purchased on March 21 from Mississippi Market. The person has since recovered and was not hospitalized. These fresh strawberries are no longer in stores.
People are warned to avoid FreshKampo and HEB organic brand strawberries purchased between March 5th to April 25th. Frozen strawberries from the brands should be thrown away. Consumers can also ask their local supermarkets if they carried this specific brand of produce.
The health department advises people to keep track of symptoms associated with hepatitis A. These symptoms include:
- Stomach pains
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored stools
The most effective method to prevent hepatitis A is to be vaccinated against it. The vaccine is recommended for all children at the age of 1 and travelers planning on going to certain countries with high infection rates. Although the vaccine has been recommended since 2006, the health department reports that many adults have not been vaccinated against the disease. It is advised to discuss getting vaccinated with your healthcare provider. Safe food handling and preparation are also recommended practices.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has more information about the outbreak on their website.