Strawberries, especially imported frozen strawberries, are at the root of many recent hepatitis A outbreaks, according to a leading U.S. hepatitis A lawyer. Most Americans are vaccinated against hepatitis A, but hepatitis A still causes outbreaks in the United States as young children, the elderly and many immigrants remain susceptible. The onset of illness is delayed by 15 to 50 days in most people, so contacts have time to get vaccinated within the first two weeks of exposure.
In the current outbreak, at least 10 people in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington have been diagnosed with hepatitis A after eating organic strawberries. Each victim became ill between November 24, 2022, and May 27, 2023.
According to the CDC, people with acute hepatitis A infection often suffer from:
- yellow skin or eyes
- don’t want to eat
- upset stomach
- Dark urine or light-colored stools
- joint pain
- feeling tired
In early 2022, the hepatitis strawberry epidemic was related to HEB organic strawberries and FreshKampo strawberries. It is imported from Baja California in northern Mexico. This strain is identical to the current strain, indicating an ongoing problem among strawberry growers in Baja California. In 2016, a Hepatitis A outbreak occurred after a Tropical Smoothie Cafe used frozen strawberries from Egypt.