A worrying outbreak of hepatitis A across the United States is believed to be linked to BlackBerrys purchased at grocery stores in 11 states,media BGR reported. An investigation by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that the source of the outbreak was blackberries from Fresh Thyme grocery stores across the United States.
A total of 11 cases have been confirmed so far, although health officials fear more cases could be. Fresh Thyme has stores in Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The contaminated blackberries are believed to have been sold between 9 September and 30 September. Officials say anyone who buys fresh blackberries from the store during this period should immediately discard them. Even after the shelf life, blackberries that are frozen and then eaten can be potentially dangerous if contaminated, and the FDA says all products made from blackberries should be discarded.
The FDA warns:
If consumers buy fresh blackberries from fresh Blackberries farmers’ market stores in 11 states between September 9 and 30, they have eaten the fruits in the past two weeks and have not been vaccinated against hah virus (HAV). Post-exposure prevention (PEP) should be consulted with their healthcare professionals to determine if it is necessary. Pep is recommended for people who have not been vaccinated against HAV in the last two weeks. People who have previously been vaccinated against hepatitis A or who have previously shown signs of hepatitis A infection do not need TO have PEP.
Of the 11 confirmed cases of hepatitis A caused by contaminated blackberries, a total of 6 had to be hospitalized. Hepatitis A mainly affects the liver and can lead to death if left untreated. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include vomiting, fatigue, abdominal pain, dark urine, etc.