Recalled frozen strawberries linked to hepatitis A outbreak served at two Weld County restaurants | MyWindsorNow.com

Recalled frozen strawberries linked to hepatitis A outbreak served at two Weld County restaurants

Staff reports

Frozen strawberries imported from Egypt and served at two Weld County restaurants have been linked to a multistate hepatitis A outbreak and are being recalled.

Several states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating the outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A. Evidence indicates the frozen strawberries are the likely source of the outbreak. The recall affects all frozen strawberries and frozen strawberry products imported into the United States by the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing since Jan. 1, 2016. The products were not offered for sale in retail stores, such as grocery stores, or food warehouses, such as Costco or Sam's Club, according to a news release issued Saturday by the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment.

The frozen strawberries were distributed to restaurants.

Two Weld restaurants have served the products within the past two weeks. According to the news release, they are:

» Fat Albert's, 1717 23rd Ave. in Greeley, served strawberries on top of dessert items. The last time the strawberries were served was Oct. 24.

» Red Rooster, 4330 Colo. 66 in Longmont, served strawberries on top of breakfast items. The last time the strawberries were served was Oct. 28.

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Most of the outbreak-related human infections have occurred on the East Coast. There are no hepatitis A cases in Colorado associated with this outbreak. However some consumers in Colorado may have been served food and drinks containing these products and may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection that results from exposure to the hepatitis A virus. Illness from hepatitis A generally begins about 28 days after exposure — a range of 15–50 days — and symptoms include:

» Fatigue.

» Stomach pain.

» Yellowing of the skin and eye (jaundice).

» Dark urine.

» Clay-colored stool.

Hepatitis A can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. In rare cases, the infection can lead to liver failure, particularly in individuals who have a pre-existing liver disease or weakened immune systems, the release stated.

"If you have been exposed to hepatitis A, you can prevent infection by having a hepatitis A vaccine or immunoglobulin therapy within two weeks of exposure," Dr. Mark E. Wallace, executive director of the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment, said in the release. "If it has been more than 14 days since you have eaten these berries, the vaccine won't be effective in preventing infection."

Anyone who ate items containing strawberries from restaurants, should contact their health care provider to discuss treatment options. Certain pharmacies also may offer hepatitis A vaccine. Go to vaccinefinder.org for locations. Anyone who already has been vaccinated for hepatitis A, does not need to be vaccinated again, even they ate the affected strawberries.

Vaccinations also are available at the Weld County Health Department main office, 1555 N. 17th Ave. in Greeley, and the Southwest Weld County Health Department satellite office, 4209 County Road 24½ Road in Longmont, during normal business hours. For an appointment, call (970) 400-2703 for an appointment.

For more

For more information, Weld County residents can contact the Colorado Health Emergency Cline — known as COHelp — at 1-877-462-2911 or (303) 389-1687. COHelp is available 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends.