Local hepatitis A case linked to national outbreak

On April 22, 2016, the Sudbury & District Health Unit reported a laboratory-confirmed case of hepatitis A in an individual within its service area who had consumed the recently recalled Nature’s Touch brand Organic Berry Cherry Blend frozen berries. 

“Laboratory testing has confirmed that this case is part of the national outbreak,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Sudbury & District Medical Officer of Health. “The virus strain matches the strain found in other individuals in this outbreak.” 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a food recall warning on April 15, 2016, for Nature’s Touch brand Organic Berry Cherry Blend frozen berries, sold between December 11, 2015, and April 15, 2016, at any Costco location in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, due to possible hepatitis A contamination. People are reminded not to consume the recalled berries, and if they have been consumed, to seek health advice. 

The Health Unit continues to offer free hepatitis A vaccine to anyone who consumed the product in the last 14 days and who is not fully vaccinated. Vaccine is available at the Health Unit’s office located at 1300 Paris Street, Greater Sudbury, Monday to Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Vaccine is also available through the Health Unit’s offices located in Espanola, Mindemoya and Chapleau or by contacting your health care provider. 

Food handlers, individuals who have direct patient care (hospital or long-term care home workers, volunteers or students) or who work in a child care setting should report to the Health Unit if they consumed the frozen berries within the last 50 days—even if they do not have any symptoms. The Health Unit will provide these individuals with employment-specific education. 

Individuals who have served recalled product to others including patrons of food premises, family, friends and colleagues are also encouraged to communicate this potential exposure to the Health Unit or with these individuals directly.

For more information, please contact the Health Unit at 705.522.9200 or toll-free at 1.866.522.9200, or speak with your health care provider as soon as possible. People who live outside of the Sudbury & District Health Unit’s service area are encouraged to contact their local public health unit.