About Hepatitis

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

About Hepatitis Blog

Strawberries with Hepatitis A - Again

Total United States Illnesses: 17 – Canada 10

United States Hospitalizations: 12 – Canada 4

Illness onset dates range from March 28 – April 30, 2022.
States with Cases: California (15), Minnesota (1), North Dakota (1) – Provinces with Cases: Alberta (4) and Saskatchewan (6)

Product Distribution: United State and Canada

The FDA, along with CDC, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, state, and local partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A infections in the United States and Canada potentially linked to fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo and HEB, purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022.

Currently, the potentially affected FreshKampo and HEB products are past shelf life. People who purchased FreshKampo and HEB fresh organic strawberries between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, and then froze those strawberries for later consumption should not eat them. These products were sold at the following retailers, including, but not limited to:

Aldi

HEB

Kroger

Safeway

Sprouts Farmers Market

Trader Joe’s

Walmart

Weis Markets

WinCo Foods

Canadian Co-op stores

Some past Hepatitis A Outbreaks linked to strawberries:

2016 Hepatitis A Linked to Frozen Strawberries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe – Several states, the CDC and the FDA investigated a multistate outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A linked to frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. Nearly all ill people interviewed reported drinking smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie …Read More »

1997 Multistate Outbreak of Hepatitis A Linked to A&W Frozen Strawberries – A large outbreak of hepatitis A was associated with the consumption of strawberries served at school. The strawberries had been imported from Mexico and processed/packaged in California by A&W. They were frozen and sold for commercial use in school …Read More »

1990 Multistate Outbreak of Hepatitis A Linked Frozen Strawberries – Frozen strawberries that had been processed at a single plant were linked to outbreaks of hepatitis A. In Georgia, illnesses occurred among students and teachers at an elementary school. Three months, later, in Montana, an outbreak involving the strawberries …Read More »

Gino's linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak that has sickened 10 with 3 dead

A Montgomery County restaurant reopened Monday following a hepatitis A investigation.

Gino’s Ristorante and Pizzeria closed on Jan. 7. Ten total cases are being reviewed and three people have died from the virus.

On Jan. 7, the popular family-owned restaurant that opened back in 1972 was forced to temporarily close following a hepatitis A investigation.

According to the Montgomery County Health Department, of the 10 confirmed cases, seven people were hospitalized and three have died.

While the source of the outbreak has not been confirmed, officials say they traced the virus to back to this site in late November but can’t say if it was a worker or contaminated food product.

Roanoke Famous Anthony’s restaurants Hepatitis A Outbreak

An employee who worked at three Famous Anthony’s restaurant locations in Roanoke has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. As a result, the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD) announced today that anyone who visited any of these three Famous Anthony’s locations — 4913 Grandin Road, 6499 Williamson Road or 2221 Crystal Spring Ave. — from August 10 through 26 only, may have been exposed.

The RCAHD is currently investigating nine cases of hepatitis A associated with this exposure.

To protect your health and prevent further spread of illness, if you meet these criteria and are not vaccinated against hepatitis A, please monitor yourself for these symptoms:

• jaundice: yellowing of the skin or the eyes,
• fever,
• fatigue,
• loss of appetite,
• nausea,
• vomiting,
• abdominal pain,
• dark urine, or
• light-colored stools.

If you develop any of these symptoms, please seek medical care and let your healthcare provider know of your possible exposure. It is also very important for people with symptoms to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service, health care or child care.

Maine Hepatitis A Outbreak Spikes

According to press reports, there has been a sharp increase in hepatitis A cases in three Maine counties since February, according to a release sent out by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) Friday morning.

It says there were zero cases reported in the counties between January and February of this year, but in the last four months, there has since been an uptick to 26 cases total.

According to the release, in 21 of the 26 cases, there were risk factors of injection drug use or housing insecurity.

Maine has had seven to ten cases of hepatitis A cases per year during the past decade, but last year that number more than tripled to 45 cases total.

“This increase was driven by a restaurant-associated outbreak and cases related to injection drug use or housing insecurity,” the release reads. “Since January 1, 2020, Maine CDC has identified 39 cases of Hepatitis A statewide — recent case investigations, however, have not identified a source of the infections.”

New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts are also among states that have reported outbreaks of hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A infection is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus and is usually spread through personal contact rather than contaminated food or water. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, and jaundice – according to the release.

Hepatitis A positive La Roma Pizzeria employee prompts scare

An employee at La Roma Pizzeria, 600 Floyd Ave., has tested positive for Hepatitis A and worked while infectious, possibly exposing restaurant patrons, according to the Oneida County Health Department.

In previous instances, the Health Department said that cases in restaurants do not suggest anything was done wrong or proper sanitation procedures not followed, but simply that a person may have worked at the establishments before learning that he or she had the condition.

LaRoma’s Pizzeria has been notified of potential Hepatitis A exposure, and is cooperating with the Health Department. Health Department staff are inspecting the restaurant and will conduct additional inspections over the coming weeks.

“All those who are eligible should get vaccinated for Hepatitis A,” said Phyllis D. Ellis, BSN, MS, FACHE, county director of health in a statement.

Now, “those who consumed food prepared by the restaurant between April 27, 2020 and May 4, 2020 must receive preventive treatment within 14 days of exposure,” reads a health department statement.

Those who consumed food between April 20 and April 26 are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms. The post exposure vaccine would not be effective for patrons who were exposed prior to April 27, according to the health department.

The Hepatitis A vaccine is effective if given within two weeks of exposure, a release continues.

To get a vaccination, contact a health care provider or contact the Oneida County Health Department at 315-798-5747 and press 1 to make an appointment.

Long Beach 555 East American Steakhouse link in Hepatitis A Outbreak

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A associated with 555 East American Steakhouse in downtown Long Beach. Several cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed in individuals who ate at the restaurant on or around December 24, 2019. Those who ate there during that time may have been exposed. The source of the illness is still under investigation, and the restaurant’s management and staff are fully cooperating with Health Department officials to prevent further illness. The restaurant does not pose an ongoing risk to the public at this time.

“We are notifying the public of the exposure so that people can immediately seek medical care if they begin to develop symptoms,” said Dr. Anissa Davis, City Health Officer. “Individuals who have been vaccinated for hepatitis A or have had the disease are protected. Those who are not immune to hepatitis A should consult their medical provider if they develop symptoms, and let their provider know they may have been exposed to hepatitis A.”

Hepatitis A is an infectious disease of the liver. It is transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water. Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, dark urine, nausea, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Once exposed to hepatitis A, if symptoms occur, they usually start appearing four weeks after exposure, but can occur as early as two and as late as seven weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days.

Those who contract the disease usually recover completely, but sometimes hepatitis A can lead to hospitalization and severe illness. It is very important that anyone with symptoms not go to work, especially if in food service, health care, or child care, and consult their medical provider immediately.

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination with the hepatitis A vaccine. In addition, individuals can avoid infection by practicing good hand hygiene – including thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before preparing or eating food.

Individuals who ate at 555 East American Steakhouse on or around December 24, 2019 should contact their medical provider if they develop symptoms.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market link in Hepatitis A cases

As of December 2, 2019, a total of 16 outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A were reported from 6 states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 8, 2019, to November 15, 2019. Ill people range in age from 14 to 73 years, with a median age of 50. Seventy-five percent of ill people are female. Of 15 people with available information, 9 (60%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes for symptoms to appear after exposure (average 4 weeks) and the time it takes between when someone becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence are being collected and analyzed. A single, common supplier of fresh blackberries has not been identified.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the 2 to 7 weeks before they became ill. Of people who were interviewed, 15/15 (100%) reported eating fresh blackberries; of 13 people with known fresh blackberry purchase location information, 13/13 (100%) purchased fresh blackberries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. This proportion was significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 7% reported eating fresh blackberries in the week before they were interviewed.

The FDA and regulatory officials in several states have collected records from grocery stores where ill people reported buying fresh blackberries and are conducting traceback investigations to try to identify a specific source of the fresh blackberries.

This outbreak investigation is ongoing, and CDC will update the public when more information becomes available.

Hepatitis A tied to Blackberries purchased at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market

As of November 26, 2019, this outbreak appears to be ongoing.

14 outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A have been reported from 5 states (Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin).

Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 8, 2019, to November 15, 2019.8 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence are being collected and analyzed. A single, common supplier of fresh blackberries has not been identified.

In interviews, 14/14 (100%) reported eating fresh blackberries. Of 12 cases with known fresh blackberry purchase location information, 12/12 (100%) purchased fresh blackberries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.

Traceback information to date shows that the berries came from a distribution center that ships fresh berries to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores in 11 states: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

This outbreak investigation is ongoing, and CDC will update the public when more information becomes available.

Blackberries link in three state Hepatitis A Outbreak

As of November 20, 2019, a total of 11 outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A were reported from 3 states – Indiana (2), Wisconsin (3) and Nebraska (6)

Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 15, 2019, to November 5, 2019. Ill people range in age from 14 to 73 years, with a median age of 35. Seventy-three percent of ill people are female. Of 11 people with available information, 6 (55%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes for symptoms to appear after exposure (average 4 weeks) and the time it takes between when someone becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence are being collected and analyzed. A single, common supplier of fresh blackberries has not been identified.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the 2 to 7 weeks before they became ill. Of people who were interviewed, 11/11 (100%) reported eating fresh blackberries; of 9 people with known fresh blackberry purchase location information, 9/9 (100%) purchased fresh blackberries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. This proportion was significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 7% reported eating fresh blackberries in the week before they were interviewed.

The FDA and regulatory officials in several states have collected records from grocery stores where ill people reported buying fresh blackberries and are conducting traceback investigations to try to identify a specific source of the fresh blackberries.

This outbreak investigation is ongoing, and CDC will update the public when more information becomes available.

Final Settlements reached in Multi-state Hepatitis A Outbreak

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate frozen strawberries imported from Egypt were the likely source of this outbreak. In interviews, nearly all ill people interviewed reported drinking smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Café locations prior to August 8 in a limited geographical area, including Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, but there have been a small number of cases outside of that geographic area with no Tropical Smoothie Café exposure.

Information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of acquiring hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Café’s, as the contaminated food product has been removed as of August 8. As of December 13, 2016: 143 people with hepatitis A have been reported from nine states: Arkansas (1), California (1), Maryland (12), New York (5), North Carolina (4), Oregon (1), Virginia (109), West Virginia (7), and Wisconsin (3).

129 of these cases reported eating a smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Café. There have been no cases reporting illness from this same exposure since September 23, 2016. 14 cases had no direct exposure to Tropical smoothie café. The latest illness onset date among these cases was October 25, 2016. 56 ill people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

FDA traceback information indicated that the frozen strawberries served in the Tropical Smoothie Café locations were from the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP), imported from Egypt. On August 8, 2016, Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they removed the Egyptian frozen strawberries from their restaurants in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and switched to another supplier out of an abundance of caution. Information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Cafes.

On October 30, 2016, the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP) recalled all of its frozen strawberries that were imported into the U.S. since January 1, 2016. The recalled products were distributed for sale to and use in food service establishments nationwide. The FDA reports that hepatitis A virus contamination was found in multiple samples of ICAPP frozen strawberries.

Go Forward

Next Page

Connect with Marler Clark

Office:

1012 First Avenue
Fifth Floor
Seattle, WA 98104

Hours:

M-F, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Pacific

Call toll free:

1 (800) 884-9840

If you have questions about foodborne illness, your rights or the legal process, we’d be happy to answer them for you.