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FDA Recalls Strawberries Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak: What to Know

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A infections that may be linked to organic strawberries sold at popular grocery chains like Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway. They were labeled as FreshKampo or HEB strawberries, and, while they are past shelf life, they should be thrown away if they’ve been frozen for later consumption, according to a statement from the FDA.

The affected strawberries that may be causing hepatitis A, a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, were sold between March 5 and April 25, the statement said; the most recent illness connected to the outbreak began April 30. Restaurants and retailers should throw out FreshKampo and HEB strawberries purchased between March 5 and April 25, per the statement. There have been 15 cases in California, one in Minnesota, and one in North Dakota, and infections have also been reported in Canada. No deaths have been reported, though the outbreak has caused 12 hospitalizations.

The strawberries haven’t been definitively established as the cause of the outbreak, but the FDA’s statement said they are the “likely cause of illness.” Traceback data show that people with infections in California, Minnesota, and Canada had purchased the strawberries prior to illness. In addition to Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway, the following retailers sold the strawberries: Kroger, HEB, Sprouts Farmers Market, Aldi, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods. If you have strawberries in your home and you don’t know what brand they are and where they were purchased, you should throw them away, the FDA statement said.

Hepatitis A is spread when a person comes in contact with an infected individual’s stool, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). This can occur when a person eats food prepared by an infected person who didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, for instance, or eats foods rinsed with contaminated water. Illness caused by hepatitis A usually occurs anywhere from 15 to 50 days after coming into contact with contaminated foods, according to the FDA. Anyone who has eaten either FreshKampo or HEB organic strawberries and develops symptoms of hepatitis A should contact a health care provider. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, jaundice, pale stool, and dark urine, per the FDA, which states that sometimes hepatitis A infections are asymptomatic, particularly in children. There is no treatment for hepatitis A, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); infected people are advised to rest and stay hydrated, per NLM, which adds that health care providers may suggest certain medications to relieve symptoms of a hepatitis A infection. In severe cases, infected people may require hospitalization.

Everyone is susceptible to a hepatitis A infection, though people who have received the hepatitis A vaccine or have been previously infected do have strong immunity, according to the FDA. The CDC recommends two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine (given six months apart) for all children once they turn one.

Anyone who ate the affected strawberries during the last two weeks and hasn’t received the vaccine should speak with a health care provider to determine the best course of action, per the FDA.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A infections that may be linked to organic strawberries sold at popular grocery chains like Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway. They were labeled as FreshKampo or HEB strawberries, and, while they are past shelf life, they should be thrown away if they’ve been frozen for later consumption, according to a statement from the FDA.

The affected strawberries that may be causing hepatitis A, a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, were sold between March 5 and April 25, the statement said; the most recent illness connected to the outbreak began April 30. Restaurants and retailers should throw out FreshKampo and HEB strawberries purchased between March 5 and April 25, per the statement. There have been 15 cases in California, one in Minnesota, and one in North Dakota, and infections have also been reported in Canada. No deaths have been reported, though the outbreak has caused 12 hospitalizations.

The strawberries haven’t been definitively established as the cause of the outbreak, but the FDA’s statement said they are the “likely cause of illness.” Traceback data show that people with infections in California, Minnesota, and Canada had purchased the strawberries prior to illness. In addition to Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway, the following retailers sold the strawberries: Kroger, HEB, Sprouts Farmers Market, Aldi, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods. If you have strawberries in your home and you don’t know what brand they are and where they were purchased, you should throw them away, the FDA statement said.

Hepatitis A is spread when a person comes in contact with an infected individual’s stool, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). This can occur when a person eats food prepared by an infected person who didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, for instance, or eats foods rinsed with contaminated water. Illness caused by hepatitis A usually occurs anywhere from 15 to 50 days after coming into contact with contaminated foods, according to the FDA. Anyone who has eaten either FreshKampo or HEB organic strawberries and develops symptoms of hepatitis A should contact a health care provider. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, jaundice, pale stool, and dark urine, per the FDA, which states that sometimes hepatitis A infections are asymptomatic, particularly in children. There is no treatment for hepatitis A, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); infected people are advised to rest and stay hydrated, per NLM, which adds that health care providers may suggest certain medications to relieve symptoms of a hepatitis A infection. In severe cases, infected people may require hospitalization.

Everyone is susceptible to a hepatitis A infection, though people who have received the hepatitis A vaccine or have been previously infected do have strong immunity, according to the FDA. The CDC recommends two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine (given six months apart) for all children once they turn one.

Anyone who ate the affected strawberries during the last two weeks and hasn’t received the vaccine should speak with a health care provider to determine the best course of action, per the FDA.

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