There have been more than a dozen illnesses reported to the FDA that are apparently linked to organic strawberries that may have been sold at retailers that have locations in Billings.

According to the press release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the FDA and the CDC is "investigating a multistate outbreak of hepatitis Ainfections in the United States."

The FDA believes the "potentially contaminated strawberries" originated in northern Mexico and have a labeling with FreshKamo and HEB. The expiration dates on the strawberries in question have already passed and won't be found on shelves, according to the FDA press release.

But, they are concerned consumers may have purchased the contaminated fruit between March 5 and April 25, 2022 and froze them for later use. The Food and Drug Administration says that if you are unsure of the brand of strawberries, or the date of purchase, throw your strawberries away.

The FDA reports these following retailers may have sold the potentially contaminated strawberries:

  • WinCo Foods
  • Walmart
  • Safeway
  • Kroger
  • HEB
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Weis Markets
  • Trader Joe's

As of May 31, 2022, the FDA reported 17 total U.S. illnesses and 12 hospitalizations linked to the organic strawberries. 15 of those cases were in California, 1 in Minnesota, and 1 in North Dakota.

Epidemiologic and traceback data show that fresh organic strawberries sold under brands that include FreshKampo and HEB brands and were purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, are a likely cause of illness in this outbreak. The traceback investigations show that outbreak-associated cases in California and Minnesota report having purchased fresh organic strawberries prior to becoming ill. Illness onset dates range from March 28 – April 30, 2022. -U.S. Food and Drug Administration

According to the FDA, here are the symptoms of Hepititis A:

  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • jaundice
  • dark urine
  • pale stool

In kids under the age of six, the FDA says some infections may be asymptomatic.

People with hepatitis A infections usually completely recover within one to two weeks; however, in rare cases hepatitis A may become chronic, causing relapsing infection. Chronic hepatitis A infection can lead to more severe health problems, including liver failure, and death. -FDA

CLICK HERE to read the complete FDA press release regarding the outbreak investigation of the Hepatitis A Virus.

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