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Could a recent Hepatitis A outbreak be linked to fresh strawberries?

Between March 28 and March 30 of this year, 17 cases of Hepatitis A were reported in California, Minnesota, and North Dakota. 12 of the 17 ended up in the hospital. The FDA, CDC, and other entities are now studying the possible link between Hepatitis A and fresh strawberries distributed nationwide.

More than a handful of agencies are working together on this, both American and Canadian. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Heath Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are working together to see if there is truly a link between fresh strawberries and these recent cases of Hepatitis A.

While the strawberries in question are past their shelf life, it’s possible purchasers have frozen them to eat later. If you’re unsure if the strawberries you’ve purchased are those linked to Hepatitis A, it’s best to be safe and throw them out. Furthermore, if you believe you’ve come into contact with them and are not vaccinate against Hepatitis A, safety experts recommend consulting with your healthcare professional.

Hepatitis A is more likely to negatively affect adults, than young children, and symptoms typically reveal themselves anywhere from 2-7 weeks after infection. As always, you should seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing any symptoms related to Hepatitis A. Symptoms can include but are not limited to: yellow skin or eyes, lack of an appetite, an upset stomach, stomach pain, vomiting, fever, dark urine or light colored stools, diarrhea, joint pain and feeling tired. Typically, symptoms will last as much as 2 months.

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