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FDA, CDC add another retailer to Hepatitis A outbreak tied to blackberries

FDA ADVISORY: December 10, 2019 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin potentially linked to fresh, conventional (non-organic) blackberries from the grocery stores Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and Woodman’s Market.

On December 10, 2019, CDC updated their case counts to 18 illnesses, with the most recent illness onset date on November 15, 2019.

Based on the epidemiological information collected in the investigation thus far, ill patients reported consuming fresh, conventional blackberries bought in six states including Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Case patients reported buying them from either Fresh Thyme Farmers Market or Woodman’s Market.

Currently, traceback information shows that the berries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market came from a distribution center that ships fresh berries to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores in 11 states: IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, MN, NE, OH, PA, and WI. As this investigation continues, the FDA will work with our federal and state partners to obtain additional information, including Woodman’s Market, during the traceback investigation and will update this advisory as more information becomes available.

 

Recommendation

The FDA is urging consumers to not eat any fresh, conventional blackberries if purchased between September 9 and September 30, 2019, from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores in the 11 states mentioned above or from Woodman’s Market located in Wisconsin and Illinois. People who purchased the fresh blackberries and then froze those berries for later consumption should not eat these berries. They should be thrown away.

If consumers purchased fresh, conventional blackberries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores in the 11 states listed above or from Woodman’s Market located in Wisconsin and Illinois between September 9-30, ate those berries in the last two weeks, and have not been vaccinated for the hepatitis A virus (HAV), they should consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is indicated. PEP is recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to HAV in the last two weeks. Those with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination or previous hepatitis A infection do not require PEP.

Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from eating these blackberries, or if you believe that you have eaten these berries in the last two weeks.

Read the full update