The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement May 28 that at least 17 people in the U.S. had been infected with hepatitis A, likely because of the strawberries. Twelve of those people were hospitalized.
“It’s not an everyday occurrence,” he said, “but it’s certainly not unusual for this to happen.”
From 2009 to 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 37 hepatitis outbreaks that sickened 911 people and killed six. Since 2013, notable outbreaks have been connected to pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey, raw scallops in Hawaii, frozen strawberries imported from Egypt and fresh blackberries mainly in the Midwest.
While hepatitis A can spread among people, it is unlikely that the strawberries would cause a huge outbreak unless a food handler was infected, Dr. Lemon said.