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Fresh strawberries have been linked to the hepatitis A outbreak in North America, triggering a recall according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The FreshKampo and HEB brands of strawberries are being recalled because they appear to be the culprit behind a hepatitis A outbreak. So far, at least 17 people were infected and 12 hospitalized due to the liver disease in the U.S., according to a report from the FDA. No deaths have been reported.
The FDA posted a tweet that read, “The FDA, along with CDC, Canadian, state, and local partners are investigating a multi state outbreak of hepatitis A in the U.S. & Canada potentially linked to fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo & HEB, purchased between March 5 & April 25.”
The FDA said on its website that the fresh organic strawberries were sold between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, at the following retailers, including, but not limited to: Aldi, HEB Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets and WinCo Foods
The FDA advised that if you purchased strawberries during that period and froze them for later use, or if you are unsure of what brand you purchased prior to freezing them, it is best to throw the strawberries away.
Those who consumed the strawberries should seek medical attention as soon as possible. The FDA stated on its site, “If consumers purchased fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, ate those berries in the last two weeks, and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, they should immediately consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is needed.”
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Health experts explained to Fox News that PEP consists of administering a single dose of Hepatitis A vaccine or immunoglobulin within the 2-week exposure period. This dose can produce an immune response against the virus to help negate it, according to the experts.
The FDA said those with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination or previous hepatitis A infection do not require PEP.
A strawberry recall has raised concerns amid a hepatitis A outbreak.
Dr. Douglas Dieterich, the director of the Institute for Liver Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System and a professor at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, told Fox News it’s important to be vaccinated against hepatitis A, and it’s now common for children to get this vaccine.
Dieterich explained to Fox News that hepatitis A is a type of liver inflammation cause by the hepatitis A virus. Dieterich said an infected individual might become sick for a few weeks to several months and usually recover. However, health experts warn that in some cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and even death in the elderly, or those with serious health issues or compromised immune systems and those with a history of liver disease such as hepatitis B or C.
According to the CDC, hepatitis a can be spread from , personal contact with an infected person and through contaminated food. Handwashing is an important method to prevent spreading, experts told Fox News Common symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Symptoms typically begin 14 to 28 days after exposure to the virus, experts said.
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The FDA said this is an ongoing investigation and additional products may be included in the recall. The federal agency said more information would be provided as it becomes available.