CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)external iconinvestigated a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A associated with exposure to contaminated fresh blackberries sold at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and Woodman’s grocery stores during September 2019.
As of February 19, 2020, a total of 20 outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A were reported from 7 states.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 8, 2019, to November 15, 2019. Ill people ranged in age from 14 to 73 years, with a median age of 50. Sixty percent of ill people were female. Of 19 people with available information, 11 (58%) were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicated that fresh blackberries were the likely source of this outbreak.
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the 2 to 7 weeks before they became ill. Of people who were interviewed, 19/20 (95%) reported eating fresh blackberries; of 17 people with known fresh blackberry purchase location information, 16/17 (94%) purchased fresh blackberries from either Fresh Thyme Farmers Market or Woodman’s Market. This proportion was significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 7% reported eating fresh blackberries in the week before they were interviewed.
FDA completed its traceback investigation; however, a single, common source of fresh, conventional blackberries could not be identified.
As of February 19, 2020, this outbreak investigation is over.