Strawberries May Be Linked to Hepatitis Outbreak in US and Canada | world news




US and Canadian food regulators are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A that may be linked to fresh organic strawberries.

The fruits were sold under the FreshKampo and HEB brands.

The products were available at various retailers across the United States, including Aldi, Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Trader Joe’s, between March 5 and April 25.

In the WE17 people have fallen ill – 15 in California and one in Minnesota and one in North Dakota, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Twelve of those who fell ill were hospitalized.

In Canadathe strawberries were sold in Alberta and Saskatchewan between March 5 and 9.

Ten cases and four hospitalizations have been reported in the two provinces, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

FreshKampo, the Mexican company that grows the strawberries, said it was working with regulators to determine the source of the problem.

How are strawberries infected with hepatitis A?

Berries are a common conduit for viruses because they are so delicate they can only be harvested by hand, according to Live Science.

The virus is usually transmitted by the fecal-oral route, which means that a person somehow ingests the contaminated faces of an infected person.

If workers didn’t wash their hands properly after using the toilet, they could transmit the virus to the fruit.

This is more of a risk in areas of the world where hepatitis A is more common.

Strawberries can also be contaminated if the water used to irrigate them has been contaminated with raw sewage, which can carry the virus.

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The virus may not be washed away easily as there are nooks and crannies where the particles can hide.

FreshKampo said the potentially affected strawberries bore labels that read “Product of Mexico” or “Distributed by Meridien Foods.”

HEB, a Texas supermarket chain, said it had not received or sold curated strawberries from the supplier since April 16.

The retailer said anyone who still has strawberries should throw them away or return them to the store where they were purchased.

Consumer advice

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause liver disease and, in rare cases, liver failure and death.

People can get sick 15 to 50 days after eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice.

Consumers who have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A and have eaten potentially affected berries within the past two weeks should seek immediate medical attention, the FDA said.

Although strawberries haven’t been on sale for a long time, people have been advised to check which ones they have frozen for later use.


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