Recommendation

Currently, the potentially contaminated product is past its shelf life and not available for purchase in stores. Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not sell, serve, or eat any fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB if purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 15, 2022. People who purchased the fresh strawberries and then froze those strawberries for later consumption should not eat them. They should be thrown away.  If you are unsure of what brand you purchased, when you purchased your strawberries, or where you purchased them from prior to freezing them, the strawberries should be thrown away.

If consumers purchased fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB between March 5, 2022, and April 15, 2022, ate those berries in the last two weeks, and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, they should immediately consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is needed. PEP is recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus in the last two weeks because vaccination can prevent a hepatitis A infection if given within 14 days of exposure. Those with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination or previous hepatitis A infection do not require PEP.

Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have symptoms of a hepatitis A infection after eating these fresh organic strawberries, or if you believe that you have eaten these strawberries in the last two weeks.

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Outbreak Investigation of Hepatitis A Virus: Strawberries (May 2022)

The FDA, along with CDC, and state and local partners, investigated a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A infections in the United States linked to fresh organic strawberries. These potentially contaminated strawberries were imported from Baja California, a state in northern Mexico, and branded as FreshKampo and HEB by a common supplier; they were purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 15, 2022. The Public Health Agency of CanadaExternal Link Disclaimer and the Canadian Food Inspection AgencyExternal Link Disclaimer also investigated an outbreak of hepatitis A. Imported FreshKampo brand fresh organic strawberries were identified as the likely source of the outbreak in Canada.

A total of 18 people (including one probable case) infected with hepatitis A were reported from three states. According to the CDC, as of August 14, 2022, this outbreak has ended.

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Widespread person-to-person outbreaks of hepatitis A across the United States

When hearing about hepatitis A, many people think about contaminated food and water. However, in the United States, hepatitis A is more commonly spread from person to person. Since March 2017, CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) has been assisting multiple state and local health departments with hepatitis A outbreaks, spread through person-to-person contact.

The hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection

  • The following groups are at highest risk for acquiring HAV infection or developing serious complications from HAV infection in these outbreaks and should be offered the hepatitis A vaccine in order to prevent or control an outbreak:
    • People who use drugs (injection or non-injection)
    • People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness
    • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
    • People who are currently or were recently incarcerated
    • People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C
  • One dose of single-antigen hepatitis A vaccine has been shown to control outbreaks of hepatitis A.1,2
  • Pre-vaccination serologic testing is not required to administer hepatitis A vaccine. Vaccinations should not be postponed if vaccination history cannot be obtained or records are unavailable.

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Hepatitis A outbreak linked to strawberries: Signs and symptoms to watch out for

While the affected strawberries are no longer sold in Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada is asking anyone who may have frozen the berries to toss them out. (Photo via Getty images)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Canadian health agencies are investigating a hepatitis A outbreak in Alberta and Saskatchewan that was likely caused by imported organic strawberries.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), six people in Saskatchewan and four people in Alberta have gotten sick from eating the fruit. While four people have been hospitalized, the PHAC says there have been no reported deaths.

The imported fresh organic strawberries were purchased in early March at Co-op stores in both provinces under the brand name FreshKampo or HEB. Despite the berries no longer being available on Canadian store shelves, health officials are asking people to check their freezers in case they stored the strawberries for later use.

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