Eight cases of hepatitis A over the past two months in British Columbia may be linked to frozen berries, the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said Thursday as it warned consumers not to eat Pomeberry Blend frozen berries manufactured by Western Family.
The blend, which was distributed through Save-On-Foods and Overwaitea, contains frozen pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries and cherries.
According to the news release, five of the eight people ill with the virus are known to have consumed the Pomeberry product. Although there is no direct link yet, the BC health authorities suggest that as a precaution, individuals who have the Pomeberry Blend product in their refrigerator or freezer should not to consume it, and should discard it.
No other frozen berry products from Western Family are a concern at this time, the BCCDC said.
At this time, the BCCDC thinks the overall risk to the public is very low, and it is not recommending that people who have consumed the product should receive vaccine. “This will be reassessed as further information becomes available,” the agency said.
Symptoms of hepatitis A can include loss of appetite; fever; dark urine; a tired feeling (like you have the flu); vomiting; clay-colored bowel movements; a sore feeling in the upper-right stomach area; yellowing of the skin and eyeballs (jaundice). Symptoms can last from one to two weeks to several months. Some people have symptoms so mild they may not be aware they have been infected.
Most people recover completely and then are immune to re-infection.
The BCCDC recommends that anyone who has consumed Pomeberry Blend frozen berries and has symptoms compatible with hepatitis A infection should consider one of the following options:
– call the 24-hour HealthLink BC Line at 8-1-1
– contact your physician
– view the BC HealthFiles on Hepatitis at www.bchealthguide.org/healthfiles
– view the hepatitis A page at bccdc.ca.