BCCDC: BC HEPATITUS OUTBREAK

 

People who have consumed Pomeberry Blend frozen berries in past 14 days may be eligible for hepatitis A vaccine

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is informing the public that if they have consumed Pomeberry Blend frozen berries manufactured by Western Family in the past 14 days they may be eligible to receive a dose of hepatitis A vaccine. 

The overall risk to the public is very low. If people have consumed uncooked Pomeberry Blend frozen fruit within the past 14 days and have not previously received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine or had hepatitis A disease they are eligible to receive hepatitis A vaccine. For further details on how to obtain the vaccine people should contact their local public health unit.

BCCDC, the regional health authorities and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have been investigating five cases of hepatitis A in people who have consumed Pomeberry Blend frozen fruit. On Thursday April 5 the BCCDC warned the public to not consume Pomeberry Blend frozen berries and to discard them. The CFIA issued a food recall on the same day. We now have additional laboratory information which has confirmed a link to four of the cases.

This blend contains frozen pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries and cherries. No frozen products other than the Pomeberry Blend from Western Family are a concern at this time. The product has been distributed to Save-On-Foods, Price Smart and affiliated Overwaitea stores. The CFIA recall and product image is available on the CFIA website.  

Hepatitis A is a preventable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus, which can last from a few weeks to several months. It does not lead to chronic infection. After the hepatitis A virus enters your body, it can take from 15 to 50 days before you feel sick. The symptoms can be so mild that people may not be aware they have been infected with hepatitis A.

Other people get sick with some of the following symptoms: loss of appetite; fever; dark urine; a tired feeling (like you have the flu); vomiting; clay-coloured 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. Most people recover completely and then are immune to re-infection.

If you have consumed this product and have symptoms compatible with hepatitis A infection, please consider one of the following options:

  • Contact your physician
  • Call the 24-hour HealthLink BC Line at 8-1-1
  • View the hepatitis A page at bccdc.ca

For more information about hepatitis A vaccine, see the BC HealthFile on Hepatitis A vaccine at the HealthLinkBC website.

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