CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: Officials Offer Free Hepatitis A Vaccine to Counter Possible Outbreak
More than 700 children and 139 adults may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus after they ate a breakfast of possibly tainted frozen strawberries at 22 Head Start centers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. While it is not clear whether the fruit was contaminated with the virus that causes hepatitis A, Contra Costa County health officials are offering free immunizations. The total cost to the county will be approximately $20,000. Francie Wise, director of communicable disease control for the county Health Services Department, said, "We're being super cautious here. We're doing everything we can to protect the children." The strawberries came from Sysco Distributors, whose strawberries had been linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A in Boston. Sysco issued a recall of the batch, but have not accounted for 194 containers. It is unclear whether any of the tainted batch reached the Head Start centers. But Wise said, "Nobody can guarantee us that they weren't contaminated" (Johnson/Pimentel, 5/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.