13 hospitalized amid Hepatitis A outbreak tied to strawberries

Another consumer has fallen ill amid the multistate outbreak of hepatitis A infections linked to fresh organic strawberries. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported “one additional probable case related to this outbreak,” raising the total number of outbreak-related cases to 18 within three states. 

To date, 13 of the 18 people that reported illnesses, about 72%, have been hospitalized, according to the CDC, which updated the total number of cases on June 7. 

The outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A have been reported in California, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Previously, the CDC reported 17 infections and 12 hospitalizations. 

To date, no deaths have been reported since the federal officials began investigating the outbreak that’s likely linked to fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo and HEB and imported from Baja California, Mexico. 

Of the people who were interviewed, the CDC reported that 11 out of 14 people reported eating fresh organic strawberries before becoming ill. 

The potentially affected products are past shelf life and are no longer on store shelves. However, they were sold between March and April at major retailers. According to federal officials, the affected product may have been sold at stores including HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets and WinCo Foods. 

Urban Remedy also recalled one of its products, which may have been made with strawberries linked to this outbreak.

Certain lots of its Urban Remedy Organic Revitalizing Tea Tonic Strawberry Hibiscus Rose have the “potential to be contaminated with Hepatitis A,” according to a recall notice posted by the Food and Drug Administration.  

People with hepatitis A can feel sick for a few weeks or up to several months. They can develop symptoms including, but not limited to, yellow skin or eyes, upset stomach, stomach pain, nausea, tiredness, joint pain, diarrhea or fever, according to the CDC. 

In rare cases, it can cause liver disease and death, according to the CDC, although most people who become infected fully recover within a few weeks.

The CDC recommends that consumers contact their health care provider if they have eaten these organic strawberries, fresh or frozen, within the last two weeks and are not vaccinated against hepatitis A. 

According to the CDC, “Hepatitis A can be prevented with a vaccine, which is recommended for all children at one years old and adults at risk.” 

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