December 4, 2016

Hepatitis A Outbreak in Canada Linked to Costco Frozen Berry Blend

A hepatitis A outbreak in Canada is linked to frozen berries sold at Costco in that country. The Public Health Agency of Canada is investigating an outbreak in three provinces. The product, Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend, is being recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. You can see more information about the recalled product here.

Hepatitis A Virus DrawingAt least 12 people have been sickened in this outbreak. The case count by province is: Ontario (9), Quebec (2), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). People started getting sick in February and March, 2016. Some of those sickened at the recalled product. Most of the cases are male, with an average age of 37 years. Three people have been hospitalized in this outbreak because their illness is so severe.

Hepatitis A infections can occur among all people, but those who are most likely to have complications include the elderly, people with weakened immune systems, and people with liver disease. The symptoms of this illness include fever, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, dark urine, clay colored stools, fatigue, and jaundice, which is yellowing of the eyes and skin. Symptoms usually appear within two to seven weeks of exposure to the virus.

Most people only have a mild illness with this type of infection and get better within a week or two. Some people, however, can be sick up to six months. There is a vaccine available against this virus. If you have eaten this product, and you get the vaccination within two weeks you will be protected. If you have had a hepatitis A shot you should be protected for life. If you are unsure, contact your doctor.

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