Hepatitis A symptoms as FDA probes outbreak may be linked to strawberries

An outbreak of hepatitis A infections in several U.S. states and Canada, possibly linked to FreshKampo and HEB branded fresh organic strawberries, is currently being investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as health authorities in Canada are being investigated.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious, short-term liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, which is one of the most common types of disease.

The FDA said on May 28, “Epidemiological and traceability data show that fresh organic strawberries sold as FreshKampo and HEB brands and purchased between March 5, 2022 and April 25, 2022 are a likely cause of this disease outbreak.”

As of May 28, 17 cases had been reported in the United States (15 in California and one each in Minnesota and North Dakota), resulting in 12 hospitalizations, according to the FDA.

The FDA investigation is ongoing and Americans are advised not to eat, serve or sell FreshKampo or HEB brand organic strawberries purchased between the above dates, the federal health agency said.

While the potentially affected FreshKampo and HEB products are clearly past their shelf life, those who bought the products between March 5 and April 25 and then froze the strawberries for later consumption should not eat them, the added FDA added.

Below are some of the retailers where the potentially affected strawberries were sold:

  • Aldi
  • HEB
  • Kroger
  • Safe way
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Walmart
  • Weis Markets
  • WinCo Food

Visit the FDA website for full details on the recent outbreak.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?

Most hepatitis A infections have unknown causes or result from close contact with an infected person. However, some infections can be caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, the FDA says.

Foodborne illnesses caused by hepatitis A are not common in the United States. However, fruits (berries), along with water, shellfish, raw vegetables, and salads, are the most commonly cited potential food sources, the FDA says.

Symptoms of hepatitis A, which typically appear two to seven weeks after infection, may include the following, as described by the CDC.

  • Yellow skin or eyes.
  • Don’t want to eat.
  • Stomach pain.
  • To vomit.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Fever.
  • Dark urine or light-colored stools.
  • Diarrhea.
  • joint pain.
  • feeling tired

Many people with hepatitis A, especially children, have no symptoms but can still spread the infection. According to the CDC, a person can transmit the virus to others for up to two weeks before symptoms appear.

Those who think they have developed symptoms of hepatitis A or have been exposed to the virus are advised to contact their doctor or local health department as soon as possible, ideally within two weeks, advises the CDC.

Treatment and recovery from hepatitis A

Doctors usually recommend rest, a healthy diet, and hydration to manage hepatitis A symptoms. Some patients with severe symptoms may need hospital treatment.

Hepatitis A can appear as a mild illness over a few weeks, but it can also be severe and last for several months. Symptoms usually last less than two months, but some patients can be sick for up to six months, according to the CDC.

In rare cases, especially in people with a pre-existing medical condition or a compromised immune system, hepatitis A can lead to liver failure and death, the FDA warns. It’s “more common in older people and in people with other serious health conditions like chronic liver disease,” the CDC says.

Most hepatitis A patients fully recover within one to two weeks, but in rare cases the condition can become chronic and cause recurrent infection.

The best way to prevent infection, according to the CDC, is hepatitis A vaccination. The vaccine is given in two shots six months apart.

For more information about hepatitis A, visit the CDC and FDA websites.

A person holding a box of strawberries.
A person carries a box of strawberries at a farmers market in Monterey Park, California in July 2014. Authorities in the United States and Canada are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis B infection that may have been linked to FreshKampo and HEB branded fresh organic strawberries is reported, including 15 cases in California.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

https://www.newsweek.com/hepatitis-symptoms-cdc-fda-investigation-outbreak-strawberries-freshkampo-heb-1711339 Hepatitis A symptoms as FDA probes outbreak may be linked to strawberries

Rick Schindler

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