Hepatitis A Outbreak Possibly Linked to Blackberries Sold in 11 States
The FDA and CDC are currently investigating a Hepatitis A outbreak in Indiana, Wisconsin and Nebraska that could be linked to fresh blackberries sold at Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets. Investigators found these berries came from a distribution center that also ships fresh berries to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market locations in eight other states—Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The last reported illness in relation to this outbreak occurred on November 5, marking the sixth person to be hospitalized.
Related: 10 Commandments of Food Safety
Hepatitis A is a liver disease brought on by the Hepatitis A virus. Symptoms include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice. Most children under the age of six do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. Antibodies produced in response to a hepatitis A infection are lifelong and protect against reinfection.
The FDA encourages consumers who have purchased these fresh blackberries at Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets between September 9-30 to discard of the berries immediately. Even if you've frozen these berries to enjoy at a later date, the Centers for Disease Control says that Hepatitis A can survive freezing temperatures, so the berries should be discarded immediately.
Additionally, anyone who may have consumed these berries in the last two weeks is encouraged to get a Hepatitis A vaccination and consult with their healthcare professional to determine if any further action needs to be taken.