“Based on investigation findings to date, consumption of imported fresh organic strawberries is the likely source of the outbreak,” PHAC said in a statement on Friday.
“Many of the individuals who were ill reported having eaten fresh organic strawberries before their illnesses occurred.”
As of May 27, 2022, 10 lab-confirmed cases of hepatitis A were being investigated in Alberta and Saskatchewan in individuals between 10 and 75 years of age. Four people required hospitalization.
The strawberries were purchased between March 5 and March 9 at Co-op stores in the two provinces. PHAC said they are no longer available for purchase in Canada.
But the federal public health body warns against eating any strawberries bought in the same date range that may have been frozen for future enjoyment. PHAC is also advising people throw out strawberries bought in early March if they’re unable to determine where they came from.
PHAC says if you’ve been exposed to the strawberries or have symptoms consistent with a hepatitis A infection — fever, dark urine, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice — seek health care immediately. Vaccination can prevent a hepatits A infection if given with 14 days of exposure.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also investigating, but there is currently no food recall warnings associated with this outbreak.
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