Two more people are confirmed infected and a sixth US state is involved in a hepatitis A outbreak associated with fresh blackberries that were sold in September. More than half of the victims have required hospitalization.
Although the blackberries were sold fresh from Sept. 9-30 at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery stores, infections continue to be reported, likely for two main reasons. Freezing does not kill the hepatitis A virus, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Also, it takes up to 50 days or more in some patients for the infection symptoms to develop.
“On Dec. 3, the CDC updated their case counts to 16 illnesses, with the most recent illness onset date on Nov. 15,” according to an update from the FDA. “Based on the epidemiological information collected in the investigation thus far, ill patients reported consuming fresh conventional blackberries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores in six states: Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
“However, traceback information to date shows that these berries came from a distribution center that ships fresh berries to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores in 11 states.”
Fresh Thyme officials report that the implicated berries could have been shipped to stores in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.