Strawberries: Likely the cause of Hepatitis-A outbreak

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Strawberries or Hepaberries

An FDA notice suggests that an outbreak of hepatitis A in the United States and Canada may be connected to fresh organic strawberries.

To date, 17 instances have been identified in the United States, including 15 in California, one in Minnesota, and one in North Dakota. Canada has identified 10 cases.   There have been no fatalities among the 12 hospitalized cases in the United States. According to a public health notification from the Public Health Agency of Canada, four persons have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

The FDA said in a press release that it has linked the outbreak to organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo and HEB. The agency listed Trader Joe’s and Walmart as places where strawberries may have been bought.

According to the NHS website, hepatitis A is ‘a liver illness caused by a virus that’s transferred in the feces of an infected person’.

The British health service reports that hepatitis A is “not prevalent” in the country, and also that individuals often make a full recovery within a few months after being diagnosed with the disease. Consumers who have consumed the strawberries and are experiencing symptoms of hepatitis A, which include fever, vomiting, lack of appetite, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, dark urine, jaundice, joint pain, exhaustion, as well as nausea, should make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the normal duration of hepatitis A symptoms is less than two months; however, the CDC notes that some persons may experience symptoms for as long as six months. Adults are more prone than children to display symptoms, although not everyone experiences them at the same rate.

Individuals can take various precautions to ensure their safety. One of these practices is washing one’s hands. Strawberry viruses may be very hard to eliminate, but washing them, as well as other apparently “ready-to-eat” fruits like grapes, apples, and berries. According to Detwiler, the term “organic” doesn’t imply much when it comes to food safety, but buying locally sourced or hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables can benefit.


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Nismah Naveed Bhatti
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