CDC links hepatitis A outbreak to organic strawberries: Learn about the virus

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Outbreak of hepatitis A, leads to strawberry recall.NBC News reports that strawberries are being recalled after over two dozen confirmed cases of hepatitis A in the United States and Canada.NBC News reports that strawberries are being recalled after over two dozen confirmed cases of hepatitis A in the United States and Canada.Authorities identified batches that are now past their shelf life. .The strawberries were distributed between March 5 and April 25. .According to the Food and Drug Administration, anyone who may have frozen the berries should also be concerned.The traceback investigations show that cases in California, Minnesota and Canada report having purchased fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB prior to becoming ill, United States Food and Drug Administration, via NBC.The traceback investigations show that cases in California, Minnesota and Canada report having purchased fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB prior to becoming ill, United States Food and Drug Administration, via NBC.In the United States, 12 of 17 reported cases of hepatitis A required hospitalization. .Fifteen of those cases were reportedly in California. .NBC reports that authorities in Canada have also confirmed at least 10 cases.According to a public health notice, cases were reported in Alberta and Saskatchewan.The strawberries were potentially distributed to a number of major grocery chains, including Aldi, Kroger, Safeway and Walmart.The strawberries were potentially distributed to a number of major grocery chains, including Aldi, Kroger, Safeway and Walmart.An investigation is underway by the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Hepatitis A outbreaks have become more widespread in the United States

Organic strawberries have been linked to a multistate hepatitis A outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a dozen people have been made ill by the strawberries in California, Minnesota and North Dakota.

Hepatitis A outbreaks have become more widespread in the United States. These outbreaks originate from food contamination and person-to-person transmission.

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“Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that can cause infection and inflammation in the liver,” said Dr. Stacey Rizza, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic. “It’s transmitted through food and water, and through an oral-fecal route.”

The CDC reports more than 44,200 cases in 37 states since the outbreaks were first identified in 2016.

“Hepatitis A is a self-limited infection, in contrast to some other viral hepatitis,” Rizza said. “You can get very sick but eventually clear the infection without treatment because, unfortunately, there is no treatment for hepatitis A.”

While there is no treatment, the virus can be prevented with a highly effective vaccine, typically given in two doses. The first vaccination is followed by a booster six months later.

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It’s recommended that these people be vaccinated for hepatitis A:

  • All children at age 1, or older children who didn’t receive the childhood vaccination
  • Anyone age 1 year or older who is homeless
  • Infants ages 6-11 months traveling internationally
  • Family and caregivers of adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
  • People in direct contact with others who have hepatitis A
  • Laboratory workers who may come into contact with hepatitis A
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who work or travel in parts of the world where hepatitis A is common
  • People who use any type of illicit drugs — not just injected ones
  • People with clotting-factor disorders

Adults could have no symptoms of infection, or symptoms could be severe and come on suddenly. It may take two weeks or longer to show symptoms after coming into contact with the virus. Children generally do not have symptoms.

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Symptoms and complications from hepatitis A include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes
  • Intense itching

“In very rare cases, hepatitis A can kill you. You can actually go into fulminant liver failure, and if you don’t recover from the liver failure, you could die. That is a minority of the cases. Usually, people become very sick, can be very symptomatic, but eventually clear the infection themselves,” Rizza said.

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