The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state and local health departments in Canada are currently investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A infections that are believed to be connected to organic strawberries sold as FreshKampo and HEB brands, between March 5, 2022 and April 25, 2022.
Hepatitis A is a virus that causes liver infection. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include severe fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fever, stomach pain, cramping, and jaundice, with yellowing of the skin and skin irritation following the initial stages of gastrointestinal illness. In the elderly or those with a weak immune system, in rare cases it can lead to death. These symptoms can last for months, with many people suffering lingering symptoms six months after becoming ill. Hepatitis A is found in the stools of an infected person and is spread through close personal contact with an infected person or by consuming contaminated food or drink. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to receive the hepatitis A vaccination.
The concerned strawberries were sold at retailers across the U.S. and Canada, including Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods. The strawberries that are believed to be implicated in the hepatitis A outbreak are past shelf life. However, health officials are concerned that some people may have stored the strawberries in the freezer. In this case, consumers are directed to dispose of the strawberries. Furthermore, if you have strawberries that you are unsure of whether or not they are part of the recalled batch of strawberries, it is best to dispose of them.
If you have purchased and consumed FreshKampo or HEB organic brand strawberries between March 5, 2022 and April 25, 2022, and you have not already received the hepatitis A vaccination, you should contact your medical provider, in order to determine if you are eligible to receive a treatment referred to as post exposure prophylaxis (PEP).