Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Hepatitis A Found in Blackberries: 16 Confirmed Cases in 6 Different States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing their ongoing investigation of a multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A. It is believed the Hepatitis A might be presenting itself in fresh blackberries that were purchased between September 9, 2019 to September 30, 2019 from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market which is a Midwest grocery chain with stores in eleven states. At this point the CDC is concerned that customers may still have the contaminated blackberries in their freezers with plans for later consumption.
It is now going into the fourth month of this ongoing epidemic, and so far there have been a total of sixteen confirmed cases of Hepatitis A documented in six different states including: Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The number of actual victims may be much higher as some people. Especially the young and healthy, often fail to get diagnosed, and others are diagnosed differentially but have no confirmatory testing, including an IgM test.
In the current pool of victims, reports of symptoms began October 8, 2019 and continued to (at least) November 15, 2019. Of these sixteen cases, nine of these people have had to be hospitalized for treatment. Throughout the investigation the analyzed evidence has not proven sufficient to pinpoint a single, common supplier of the fresh blackberries – though they have found a central vendor. The CDC reports that “In interviews, 15/15 (100%) reported eating fresh
blackberries” and in the 13 cases with “known fresh blackberry purchase location information,” a full 13/13 (100%) purchased fresh blackberries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. So, it is likely that these fresh blackberries are the common factor in the cases of Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that is transmitted usually by eating or drinking after someone with the Hepatitis A virus. Symptoms may not always be present, but can include jaundice, pain in the abdomen, fever, and fatigue as well as diarrhea and loss of appetite. The recommended guidelines from the CDC is for the public to check their freezer for the blackberries and for the consumer to not thaw out the berries to eat or use in baking but instead dispose of the entire batch. If anyone has indeed eaten the specific blackberries that were originally purchased from a Fresh Thyme Farmers Market during the above dates, to contact their local health department or heath provider to discuss a treatment plan of receiving a Hepatitis A vaccine.