Potential Hepatitis A Exposure in Frozen Strawberries

The Oakland County Health Division is working cooperatively on the nationwide frozen strawberry recall and continues to focus on providing the most current information received from its federal and state partners to ensure the health of our residents.

Hepatitis A was detected in frozen strawberries imported from Egypt and distributed to restaurants and other food service establishments nationwide, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Health Division contacted commercial food service establishments to ensure they are aware of the recall and to dispose of product if found.

Health Risk in Frozen Strawberries

Health Risk in Frozen Strawberries

“Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months,” said Kathy Forzley, Health Division health officer. “Our Nurse on Call phone line is open until 8pm Friday to answer any questions related to signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A.”

Since this is a national and statewide recall, anyone who consumed frozen strawberries at an establishment outside of Oakland County should visit the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website at www.michigan.gov/mdard to determine potential exposure. Anyone who believes they were exposed should contact the Health Division at 800-848-5533 to receive a Hepatitis A vaccine or find a healthcare provider.

Symptoms include sudden abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, headache, dark urine, and vomiting followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes. Symptoms may appear from 2-6 weeks after exposure, with the average time being about one month. In rare cases, those with a pre-existing severe illness or a compromised immune system, Hepatitis A infection can progress to liver failure.

To reduce the risk of contracting Hepatitis A:

  • Wash hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing and eating food. Rub hands vigorously with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect all surface areas while someone in the household or workplace has symptoms, especially areas such as toilets, sinks, and trash cans where vomit and/or stool is discarded; door knobs and faucet handles.
  • Do not prepare food if you have symptoms and refrain from food preparation for at least three days after symptoms have ended.
  • Receive the Hepatitis A vaccine.

For more information, call OCHD’s Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533 or visit www.oakgov.com/health.  For information about the multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A linked to frozen strawberries, visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/outbreaks/2016/hav-strawberries.htm.

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