State and local health departments across the country are apparently being left to their own devices to alert the public to potential Hepatitis A exposure from strawberries from Egypt as the window of opportunity for post-exposure vaccination slips closed.
The recalled frozen strawberries were served as recently as Oct. 27, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which means people who ate them on that date in restaurants, school cafeterias, hotels, hospitals and other foodservice settings have until Nov. 10 to secure the vaccination. The post-exposure shots are not effective at preventing infection unless given within two weeks of exposure to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although the FDA published the list of five distributors who handled the frozen strawberries from Egypt, neither the federal agency nor those distributors have made public the list of customers that received the recalled fruit.
Michigan and California state departments of health have posted lists of entities that received the strawberries and are updating them as new information is available. As of Friday 4 November California had about 3,000 on its list and Michigan had about 100.
Spot checks Friday of several other states’ websites showed no mention of the recall or the related nine-state Hepatitis A outbreak that has already sickened at least 134 people.