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12 people hospitalized due to hepatitis A outbreak possibly linked to strawberries

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A virus in multiple states.

At least 17 people have gotten sick with hepatitis A in an outbreak possibly linked to fresh, organic strawberries that's currently under investigation in the United States and Canada. Twelve of the people were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The affected strawberries were sold with branding labeled HEB or FreshKampo and were available for purchase between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022. The products are currently past their shelf life, so health officials are recommending anyone who may have frozen affected products throw them away.

The products were sold at the following stores:

  • Aldi
  • HEB
  • Kroger
  • Safeway
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Walmart
  • Weis Markets
  • WinCo Foods

Illnesses were reported in three states: California (15 cases), Minnesota (1) and North Dakota (1).

If you have strawberries in your freezer but aren't sure when or where you bought them or what brand name they were sold under, throw them away, the FDA urged.

If you've eaten an affected strawberry within the past two weeks and are not vaccinated against hepatitis A (or are unsure of your vaccination status), consult with a health care professional immediately to determine if post-exposure medication is needed.

If you've eaten an affected strawberry in the past two weeks, you should also consider contacting a health provider, especially if you show symptoms of hepatitis A. These include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine and pale stool, according to the FDA. Keep in mind that a hepatitis A infection can also be asymptomatic, especially in children under 6.

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause liver disease, and its effects can range from mild, lasting a few weeks, to severe, lasting months. It can cause liver failure and death in rare instances, usually in immunocompromised people or those with preexisting conditions. The virus usually spreads from close contact with an infected person, but it can also spread through consuming contaminated food or drink.

The FDA investigation is ongoing, so more affected products may be included in the coming days.