The Canadian Public Health Agency is investigating a hepatitis A outbreak linked to strawberries in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Public Health Agency of Canada investigating strawberry-related hep A outbreak in Alberta, Sask.

“Consumption of imported fresh organic strawberries is the likely source of the outbreak, based on inquiry findings to date,” PHAC stated in a statement on Friday.

“Many of the people who became unwell said they had eaten fresh organic strawberries before getting sick.”

As of May 27, 2022, ten lab-confirmed cases of hepatitis A in people aged 10 to 75 were being investigated in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Hospitalization was required for four persons.

The strawberries were purchased at Co-op stores in both provinces between March 5 and March 9. They are no longer available for purchase in Canada, according to PHAC.*

However, the federal public health agency advises against eating any strawberries purchased within the same date range that have been frozen for later use. If you can’t tell where your strawberries came from and you bought them in early March, PHAC recommends throwing them aside.

If you’ve been exposed to the strawberries or have symptoms of hepatitis A, such as fever, dark urine, loss of appetite, exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or jaundice, visit a doctor right once, according to the PHAC. If given within 14 days after exposure, vaccination can prevent hepatitis A infection.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also looking into the illness, although no food recalls have been issued as of yet. 

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