There has been an outbreak of Hepatitis A in Saskatchewan from organic strawberries.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) released the news on Friday and has since been collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada to investigate the outbreak.
The outbreak has been connected to imported organic fresh strawberries boughten from Co-op grocery stores between March 5th and March 9th.
There have also been reported cases in Alberta with the connection.
The organization has confirmed that there 6 confirmed Hepatitis A cases in Saskatchewan and 4 in Alberta.
All of the patients became ill in early to mid April.
The cases range in people between the ages of 10 and 75.
These cases that have been connected to the Strawberries are also linked to cases in the United States.
The berries are no longer available for purchase in Canada. However, PHAC is recommending that people check their freezers for any frozen strawberries and says that if you’re unsure of where the strawberries are from, it’s best to throw them away.
Anyone expecting that they’ve been exposed or are having symptoms consistent with hepatitis A should see their doctor immediately. There is a vaccination that can prevent a hepatitis A infection if it’s administered within 14 days of exposure.
PHAC also recommends that people sanitize drawers, containers, and countertops that may have come into contact with the infected berries or person.
According to PHAC, not everyone who is infected will have symptoms. Symptoms are more likely to occur in adults than in children. Symptoms of hepatitis A include:
- fever dark
- urine loss of appetite
- fatigue (tiredness)
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach cramps or abdominal pain
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
After you have been exposed, symptoms typically appear 14 to 28 days later, but may occur up to 50 days later. Symptoms usually last less than two months. Mild symptoms may last only one or two weeks, while severe symptoms can last up to nine months.
If you have been diagnosed with hepatitis A, do not prepare or serve food and drinks to others.