The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning the public not to consume Pomeberry Blend frozen berries manufactured by Western Family because it may be linked to the hepatitis A virus.
The BCCDC and regional health authorities are investigating eight cases of hepatitis A that have occurred over the past two months in B.C. Five out of eight of these cases are known to have consumed the Pomeberry product and an investigation is ongoing. This product has been distributed through Save-On-Foods and Overwaitea.
While there is no direct link yet, as a precaution, anyone who has the Pomeberry Blend product in their refrigerator or freezer is advised not to consume it, and to discard it. This blend contains frozen pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries and cherries. No other frozen berry products from Western Family are a concern at this time.
This is a precautionary alert as the investigation continues and more information should be available next week. There is currently no recommendation for people who have consumed the product to receive vaccine since the overall risk to the public is very low. This will be reassessed as further information becomes available.
Hepatitis A is a preventable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus, which can last from a few weeks to several months. It does not lead to chronic infection. After the hepatitis A virus enters your body, it can take from 15 to 50 days before you feel sick. The symptoms can be so mild that people may not be aware they have been infected with hepatitis A.
Other people get sick with some of the following symptoms: loss of appetite; fever; dark urine; a tired feeling (like you have the flu); vomiting; clay-coloured bowel movements; a sore feeling in the upper-right stomach area; yellowing of the skin and eyeballs (jaundice). Symptoms can last from one to two weeks to several months. Most people recover completely and then are immune to re-infection.
If you have consumed this product and have symptoms compatible with hepatitis A infection, please consider one of the following options:
• call the 24-hour HealthLink BC Line at 8-1-1
• contact your physician
• view the BC HealthFiles on Hepatitis at www.bchealthguide.org/healthfiles
• view the hepatitis A page at bccdc.ca.
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