Friday, June 28, 2013

Hepatitis A outbreaks from frozen berries, protect yourself with Hepatitis A vaccine

If you’re trying to eat healthy and part of your routine is buy frozen berries for topping off your cereal or to use in smoothies, you may be a risk for Hepatitis A. There is currently a second recall on frozen berries. You can become infected with Hepatitis A by consuming contaminated foods and/or water, or by having close contact with someone who has it.

File:CDC raspberry.jpg
Photo: - CDC raspberry - Public Domain

Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver and makes you sick with jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting for starters. Here’s the good news: There is a vaccine to protect you from getting infected with Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A Vaccine is given in two separate doses given at least six months apart.  The goal of the vaccine is to provide your body immunity to the virus if you become exposed to it. 

If you have not yet been vaccinated against Hepatitis A, now is a good time to consider it. The vaccine can be obtained at most physician offices, clinics and some pharmacies (the ability to get a vaccine at a pharmacy is not available in all fifty states at this time). The vaccine is contraindicated (who should not get the vaccine) for some people. Be sure to contact your doctor to find out if you’re eligible to get the vaccine. Typically, healthcare providers that administer it, will ask you to fill out a consent/screening form to help determine if you are a candidate for the vaccine, by asking questions about your medical history and allergies. 

There is no excuse for contaminated food, and there have been many recalls involving a variety of foods from peanut butter (and related products) to fresh produce, meats and other items, involving different types of illness/disease causing organisms.  More needs to be done to ensure the safety of our food supply. Sometimes, there was nothing the consumer could do to prevent getting sick and no way to tell an item was contaminated.

In the meantime; stay up to date with all of your vaccines (for your  general health) to include Hepatitis A Vaccine, wash all produce well prior to consumption, stay informed to news about Outbreaks and food recallslearn about food safety, the basics of which start with keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Taking these steps can reduce your chances of becoming stricken with a food related illness. 


  1. Thanks for the warning. I had bought a bag, because I'm surprised at how often the "fresh" packages have berries covered in white fuzz. Maybe the answer is to grow your own, but then you can only get them a certain time of year.

  2. Yes, growing your own is always an option if one has the time and space. Thanks!

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  4. Thank you for your comments. Safe and effective vaccines are so important for the prevention of illness and disease. Continued success with your work in the R & D of vaccines.