A Hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen berries has sickened 13 people in Canada, hospitalizing five of them, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. A recall has been issued for Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend sold at Costco stores inOntario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Consumers who have purchased this product should not consume it.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus. It is transmitted Hepatitis when contaminated food or water is eaten or through contact with an infected person’s stool.
Sometimes those who are infected show no symptoms. For those who do become sick, symptoms usually develop two weeks after exposure and can last for months. They include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, dark urine, clay colored stools and jaundice. Those most at risk for Hepatitis A infections are seniors and those with weakened immune systems.
Vaccination can prevent the onset of symptoms if given within two weeks of exposure. Anyone who was exposed to the recalled product, or who has symptoms consistent for Hepatitis A, should see a health care provider immediately.
The 13 cases have been reported from three provinces: Ontario (9), Quebec (3), and Newfoundland andLabrador (1). Those sickened reported onset of illness on February and March 2016.
During interviews with health officials, some of those sickened reported eating the recalled product before developing symptoms. About 54 percent of the case patients, who have an average age of 54, are male.
Consumers who have purchased the recalled product should photograph the bag and then dispose of it by placing it in plastic bag. Wash hands and anything the bag has touched with warm soapy water. Freezing does not kill Hepatitis A.
This is not the first time a Hepatitis A outbreak has been linked to frozen berries. In 2013, Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen mixed berries sold at Costco stores sickened 162 people in 10 states.