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Hepatitis A virus (HAV) contamination of frozen blackberries under the Kroger grocery store “Private Selection” brand

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting consumers to a hepatitis A virus (HAV) contamination of frozen blackberries under the Kroger grocery store “Private Selection” brand. This contamination was discovered by the FDA as a part of an ongoing frozen berry sampling assignment. The FDA is advising consumers not to eat and to throw away frozen fruit purchased from Kroger and other retail locations packaged under Kroger’s “Private Selection” brand. Here are the recalled products:

  • PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN TRIPLE BERRY MEDLEY, 48 OZ (BEST BY: 07-07-20; UPC: 0001111079120);
  • PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN TRIPLE BERRY MEDLEY, 16 OZ (BEST BY: 06-19-20; UPC: 0001111087808);
  • PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN BLACKBERRIES, 16 OZ (BEST BY: 06-19-20, 07-02-20; UPC: 0001111087809)

These products are available at Kroger retail locations and have a two-year shelf life. The FDA is working with the manufacturer on this matter. This posting will be updated with new information as it becomes available. The FDA is continuing to investigate to determine whether there are other implicated products.

At this time, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are not aware of any cases of hepatitis A linked to the consumption of Kroger Private Selection brand frozen blackberries. Hepatitis A virus (HAV) can result in a liver infection that may be inapparent. However, when symptoms occur, they can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. The HAV is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected. The HAV is spread when someone ingests the virus, usually through person-to-person contact or from eating contaminated food or drink. Contamination of food with the hepatitis A virus can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking.

Hepatitis A can have a long incubation period and can have serious health consequences for some people, especially those who are immune-compromised. People infected with HAV may not have symptoms until 15 to 50 days after exposure, which often makes it difficult to determine the exact exposure that led to illness. Symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes (known as jaundice), dark urine, and pale stool. Young children may not show symptoms of HAV infection.

The FDA recommends that consumers who consumed the frozen blackberries with the BEST BY 07-02-20T6DC PRODUCT OF USA 136216 and have not been vaccinated for HAV consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is indicated. PEP may be recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to HAV in the last two weeks; those with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination or previous hepatitis A infection do not require PEP.

Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from eating frozen blackberries, or if you believe that you have eaten any of the frozen blackberry products noted above within the last two weeks.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, or to consult http://www.fda.gov.

The Fierce Urgency of Now: Virginia’s LGBTQ+ Health Equity Symposium

In commemoration of PRIDE month, please join the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity and a myriad of community partners, for “The Fierce Urgency of NOW!: Virginia’s first LGBTQ+ Health Equity Symposium!” Plan to attend, Thursday, June 27, 9 AM – 3 PM at the James Branch Cabell Library in Richmond, Va.

During this inaugural gathering, we will celebrate PRIDE month and the resiliency of the LGBTQ+ community, while also taking an honest look at who’s been left behind in the strides forward. Focusing on health equity and improving health outcomes beyond HIV/AIDs, this gathering will prove to be valuable for healthcare providers, public health professionals, community members, legislators and allies.

This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome. Free parking, on-site! Learn more and register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-fierce-urgency-of-now-virginias-lgbtq-health-equity-symposium-tickets-62447655619?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Pardon our Dust: Environmental Health Database Update

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will be migrating to a new data system, Environmental Health Database (EHD), starting June 20, 2019.  For about 7 to 10 days, some Environmental Health services that rely on the use of our database will be interrupted.  These services include, but are not limited to:

  • the printing of approval letters and permits,
  • accepting and processing of onsite sewage system operation and  maintenance (O&M) reports,
  • responding to requests for data abstraction or publishing of reports, and/or
  • other general inquiries.

While VDH will work to minimize any interruption in services during and after this data transition period. We thank you in advance for your understanding and patience.

Hepatitis Awareness Month

Illustration depicting a sign with a Hepatitis concept.

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month.  Numerous states across the U.S. have seen an increase in the number of cases of hepatitis A.  This includes the state of Virginia.  It is important to be #HepAware2019 this May.  But what does this mean?  And what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones?

  • Learn more about viral hepatitis. Knowledge is power.
  • Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B. If you are in a group that may be at increased risk for hepatitis A or B, protect yourself from infection.  Your primary care provider should provide the vaccine.  Many pharmacies also carry the vaccine.  All local health departments also offer vaccinations.
  • Get tested. There are tests available for hepatitis B and C if you believe you have been exposed.  Find a testing center near you.

Learn, vaccinate, and test.  Follow these suggestions yourself and share this information with your friends and loved ones.

Advance Healthcare Directive Registry

man lying with laptop drinking coffee or teaAll adults can benefit from thinking about what their health care choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves.  These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are.  VDH provides a free, secure tool to store end of life documents that protect your legal rights and ensure your medical wishes are honored if you are unable to manage your own care.  Visit the Advance Health Care Directive Registry to get started.

National Infant Immunization Week

Congratulations to the 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champions. #ivax2protect

This week, the Virginia Department of Health celebrates National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW).

NIIW is an annual observance that highlights the importance of vaccines for infants. The week celebrates the work of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. As part of NIIW, one healthcare provider in Virginia is selected as the state winner of the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award. This award recognizes a provider who contributes to public health by promoting childhood immunization.

This year’s CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award winner is Donna Deadrick of Carilion Children’s Pediatric Medicine.

Congratulations, Donna Deadrick! The hard work of healthcare professionals across the state helps to ensure a healthy start for Virginia’s youngest residents. VDH thanks everyone who serves as an immunization champion for their community!

Virginia Department of Health Warns Residents of Increase in Hepatitis A Cases

Prevention includes Vaccination and Hand Washing

Richmond, Va. – Multiple states across the country are experiencing hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreaks. Since these outbreaks were first identified in 2016, more than 15,000 cases and 8,500 hospitalizations (57% of cases) have been reported in the United States. Virginia has reported a 132% increase in cases of HAV between January 1, 2019 and April 19, 2019 compared to the same time period in 2018. There have been 45 cases reported in Virginia as of April 22, 2019. more>>

K2D Foods Recalls Raw Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. coli O103 Contamination

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2019 – K2D Foods, doing business as (DBA) Colorado Premium Foods, a Carrolton, Ga. establishment, is recalling approximately 113,424 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O103, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced April 23. Read full news release.

The raw ground beef items were produced on March 26, March 29, April 2, April 5, April 10, and April 12, 2019.  The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]

  • Two 24-lb. vacuum-packed packages in cardboard boxes containing raw “GROUND BEEF PUCK” with “Use Thru” dates of 4/14/19, 4/17/19, 4/20/19, 4/23/19, 4/28/19, and 4/30/19.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 51308” inside the USDA mark of inspection on the boxes. These items were shipped to distributors in Ft. Orange, Fla. and Norcross, Ga. for further distribution to restaurants.

FSIS and its public health partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Tennessee Department of Health, have been investigating an outbreak of E. coli O103. Unopened, intact ground beef collected as part of the ongoing investigation from a restaurant location, where multiple case-patients reported dining, tested positive for E. coli O103. At this time, there is no definitive link between this positive product and the ongoing E. coli O103 outbreak. Further traceback and product analysis continues to determine if the recalled products are related to the E. coli O103 outbreak.

Most people infected with STEC O103 develop diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended. Most people recover within a week, but, rarely, some develop a more severe infection. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is uncommon with STEC O103 infection. HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Ashley Barnes, Customer Service Director, Colorado Premium Foods, at (970) 313-4400.  Media with questions can contact Bernie Ruesgen, Vice President, Colorado Premium Foods, at (970) 313-4400.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

CDC and several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria infections linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses

April 17, 2019 at 4:30 PM ET – CDC and several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria infections linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are monitoring the outbreak. Read CDC Investigation Notice in full.

Latest Outbreak Information:

  • A total of 8 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 4 states.
    • All 8 people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported from Michigan.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory evidenceindicates that meats and cheeses sliced at deli counters might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and could make people sick.
  • In interviews, ill people report eating different types and brands of products, including meats and cheeses, purchased from and sliced at deli counters in many different retail locations.
  • The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from meat sliced at a deli and from deli counters in multiple stores.
  • A single, common supplier of deli products has not been identified.
  • CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating products prepared at delis, or that retailers stop selling deli-sliced products.
  • Retailers should clean and sanitize deli slicers frequently and other areas where deli products are prepared, stored, or served to avoid cross contamination.
  • This outbreak is a reminder that people at higher risk for severe Listeria infection should handle deli-sliced meats and cheeses carefully to prevent illness. Pregnant women and their newborns, adults age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick with listeriosis.

Measles Cases in the US

As you may know, there have been multiple outbreaks of measles in the U.S. So far this year there have been 465 cases in 19 states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.  The majority of measles cases are in New York City and New York state, which are primarily among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities and associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel. Read More