Hepatitis A outbreak in the US and Canada: what you should know
In the US, the strawberries were distributed nationwide and sold under the brands FreshKampo or HEB, between March 5 and April 25, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said the strawberries were sold between March 5 and 9, at stores in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
There have been 17 infections reported in the US with 12 hospitalisations, while 10 infections have been reported in Canada.
Hepatitis A is a contagious virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It is primarily spread when an unvaccinated person ingests food or water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. It is closely related to poor hygiene.
Photo: Julien Tromeur/Unsplash
Hepatitis A is rarely fatal, but death has happened due to liver failure. This tends to happen more often in people who are over 50 years old and in people who have another liver condition, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Loss of appetite, diarrhoea, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, dark urine, and yellowing of the eyes and skin are the most common symptoms.
However, in some cases, especially with children under the age of six, they might not show any symptoms, according to the FDA.
Photo: Leo Rivas/Unsplash
If the disease gets serious you might experience sudden and severe vomiting, a tendency to bruise and bleed easily.
Photo: Markus Spiske/Unsplash
Irritability, memory loss, drowsiness and confusion, may also occur according to the NHS, in which case, they advise you to quickly go to a doctor.
And according to The Public Health Agency of Canada, mild symptoms might last one or two weeks, while severe symptoms might last up to nine months.
Although there’s no treatment available for the virus, health have several recommendations that may help.
Photo: Claudio Schwarz/Unsplash
The NHS recommends infected people rest, drink fluids and eat well, and to avoid alcohol consumption as to reduce the strain on the liver.
Photo: eaters' collective/Unsplash
The Public Health Agency of Canada says that the best way to prevent it is by getting vaccinated.
However, you can also reduce the risk by washing your hands often and being cautious with food and water.