Hepatitis A

Everyone likes strawberries. They are delicious berries with a lot of health benefits.

But sadly, US FDA has stated that strawberries were linked to the recent outbreak of hepatitis A infection in the USA and Canada.

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Strawberries and hepatitis A

Fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are rich in fiber and are tasty and highly nutritious. Consume at least one type of fruit daily to make your diet wholesome and balanced.

Hepatitis A
Strawberries linked to hepatitis A outbreak in the USA and Canada (Source: Gardening Know how)

But sometimes, fruits can also become a source of diseases. This is because most of the time people eat them raw in their ripe form. They are less likely to be cooked before consumption.

This happened recently this March and April when organic strawberries became a potential source of hepatitis A outbreaks in the USA and Canada. The brands FreshKampo and H-E-B sold these strawberries.

Public health officials carried out a thorough investigation and concluded that the outbreak was potentially linked to these contaminated strawberries.

People did these purchases between 5 March and 25 April 2022, as per the FDA of the USA. And the supermarkets that sold these infected organic strawberries were H-E-B, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Weis Markets, and Walmart.

FDA has requested people to throw away these brand strawberries if they have frozen and kept them for future eating. But their shelf life is over, stressed the FDA.

More on the infected cases

There have been 17 cases of hepatitis A in the USA during this outbreak. 15 of these cases were from California, one from Minnesota, and one from North Dakota. Twelve of these 17 people needed hospitalization.

On the other hand, Canada reported ten cases. Four of these were in Alberta and six were in Saskatchewan. Four of these ten were in hospital due to the severity of their disease. Fortunately, there have been no deaths in this infective outbreak.

Hepatitis A
HEB supermarket (Source: Epicurious)

FDA urged people to come forward and report to them if they had symptoms of this disease or have eaten the infected strawberries in the last two weeks.

That is the time that the virus of the disease takes to develop symptoms in the person after entry into the body.

Symptoms of the disease

Hepatitis A is caused by a contagious virus that is transmitted via contaminated food and water. The foods get contaminated when an infected person handles them without prior proper hand washing.

After 15 to 20 days of consumption of the infected food, in this case, strawberries, the patient starts having symptoms.

These include nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, abdominal pain, loose motions, dark-colored urine, and yellow discoloration of skin and eyes. There may be pale stools. The virus primarily infects the liver cells to cause jaundice. H-E-B said:

“All strawberries sold at H-E-B are safe,”

“No illnesses from strawberries related to the F.D.A. investigation have been reported at H-E-B or in Texas.”

Hepatitis A
Features of Hepatitis A infection (Source: Netmeds)

Read more: Blackberries: a good fruit option for diabetics and heart patients

FreshKampo added:

“FreshKampo wants consumers to know that it will continue to work with health officials and supply chain partners to determine where a problem may have occurred along the supply chain and take necessary measures to prevent it from happening again,”