The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has potentially linked a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A infections to fresh organic strawberries sold at nationwide chain stores like Trader Joe’s and Walmart, according to a press release from the FDA.
Fifteen hepatitis A infections in California and one each in Minnesota and North Dakota have been potentially linked to the strawberries branded as FreshKampo and HEB and purchased between March 5 and April 25, the FDA said.
Twelve of the infections have resulted in hospitalizations.
The FDA, along with the Centers for Disease Control, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, investigated the outbreak and found that people with infections in California, Minnesota and Canada reported purchasing the strawberries before they became ill.
Canadian officials are tracing 10 cases of hepatitis A in two provinces, four in Albert and six in Saskatchewan, according to a press release from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
In the United States, the organic FreshKampo and HEB strawberries are also sold at the following stores:
- Sprouts Farmers Market
- Trader Joe’s
- Weis Markets
- WinCo Foods
Hepatitis is a liver infection transmitted when the virus is ingested, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Symptoms of the infection, which can last up to two months, include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and jaundice.
The FDA is advising people who purchased the strawberries, ate them in the last two weeks and haven’t been vaccinated against hepatitis A to immediately consult with a physician.
Anyone that purchased the strawberries between March 5 and April 25 should not sell serve or eat them, they should be thrown away, the FDA said.
This is not the first time strawberries have been linked to a hepatitis A outbreak.
In 2016, an outbreak of 143 cases was linked to frozen strawberries imported from Europe, according to the CDC.
In nearly all the cases individuals reported drinking smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Café locations. The cases were spread out among nine states and resulted in 56 hospitalizations and zero deaths, the CDC reported.
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