As of May 31, 2022, a total of 18 outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A have been reported from 3 states – California (16), Minnesota (1) and North Dakota (1). Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 28, 2022, to May 6, 2022. Ill people range in age from 9 to 73 years, with a median age of 57.5 years. Sixty-seven percent of ill people are female. Of 18 people with available information, 13 (72%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate that fresh organic strawberries, imported from Baja California, Mexico, are the likely source of this outbreak. The potentially affected FreshKampo and HEB products are past shelf life and no longer available for purchase in the United States. People who purchased FreshKampo or HEB fresh organic strawberries during March 5, 2022, through April 15, 2022, and then froze those strawberries for later consumption should not eat them. These products may have been sold at the following retailers, including, but not limited to: HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods. One downstream recall from a company that may have used strawberries linked to this outbreak to make a product has been initiated. The recall is for Urban Remedy Organic Revitalizing Tea Tonic Strawberry Hibiscus Rose. People should not drink the recalled tea.
In Canada, As of June 2, 2022, there are 10 laboratory-confirmed cases of hepatitis A illness being investigated in two provinces: Alberta (4) and Saskatchewan (6). Individuals became ill between early and mid-April 2022. Individuals who became ill are between 10 to 75 years of age. Four individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation into the FreshKampo brand fresh organic strawberries purchased between March 5 and 9, 2022 at Co-op stores in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Currently, there are no food recall warnings associated with this outbreak.
The U.S. CDC and FDA are also investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A infections potentially linked to fresh organic strawberries. Investigators in Canada and the U.S. continue to collaborate to exchange information and identify commonalities in the outbreak information that may identify additional sources of illness or help to identify the cause of contamination in the fresh organic strawberries.