Health officials are warning of an outbreak of hepatitis A infections linked to frozen strawberries sold in stores across Los Angeles County.
The outbreak was recently identified by the Los Angeles County of Department of Public Health.
Several brands of frozen strawberries potentially affected have been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA said the organic frozen strawberries were imported by a “common supplier from certain farms located in Baja California, Mexico.”
The strawberries were sold under a variety of labels including Kirkland Signature (Costco), Trader Joe’s, Simply Nature, Vital Choice, Made With, and PCC Community Markets.
Consumers are advised to review the lot numbers or universal product codes (UPC) on their products to determine whether their strawberries were affected.
Affected brands and UPC codes to look for:
“Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection and is spread when someone ingests the virus, usually through close personal contact with an infected person or from eating contaminated food or drink,” the FDA said. “Hepatitis A can be prevented with a vaccine, which is recommended for all children at age one and adults at risk.”
Common symptoms of hepatitis A usually appear two to seven weeks after exposure and can include:
-Yellow skin or eyes
-Not wanting to eat
-Dark urine or light-colored stools
Officials note that not everyone infected with hepatitis A will have symptoms and adults are more likely to show symptoms than children. Although not typically deadly, in some cases the illness may be severe enough to require hospitalization.
“In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and even death,” FDA officials said. “This is more common in older people and in people with other serious health issues, such as chronic liver disease.”
Anyone who may have consumed the affected strawberries in the last two weeks and has not been vaccinated against hepatitis A is advised to contact their healthcare provider to determine whether post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is needed.
Seven outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A have been reported so far from two states —California and Washington.
So far, no deaths have been linked to the outbreak, officials confirm.