The Hepatitis A scare related to frozen berries sold at Costco stores in Canada has hit close to home at two New Brunswick elementary schools.
It appears Nature’s Trust Brand Organic Berry Cherry Blend berries were given to some students at Grand Bay Primary School and Inglewood School in Grand Bay-Westfield as part of a weekly event.
“They have very active Home and School volunteers who, once a week, provide a yogurt parfait for the kids with the yogurt and the fruit,” said Anglophone South School District Superintendent Zoe Watson.
The fruit the children were given has been associated with Hepatitis A in a number of provinces.
The school district has been quick to react to this situation, sending a letter home to parents Thursday.
The letter points out Costco Canada is offering Hepatitis A vaccines at it’s New Brunswick locations and “in some schools to anyone that may have consumed the product within the past 14 days.”
It goes on to say people “should watch for symptoms for up to 50 days post exposure.”
Watson says the district has been in contact with Costco Canada and has also reached out to all 72 schools within its boundaries.
“There is a lot of food that is served in schools through cafeteria, through parent volunteers, through community organizations that come in and breakfast programs etc.,” Watson said.
None of the schools had reported any issues at the time of publication.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, who wrote the letter to parents, says getting a vaccine will lower the risk of anyone exposed getting sick.
“What we do know about Hepatitis A is that it can be mild, so in terms of the risk to Canadians we’re saying it’s low-risk that people will get ill and if they do it’s a short lived illness.”
Symptoms include fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, dark urine and yellowing of the skin.
Russell says they are continuing to monitor the situation.
“So the good news is there are no cases in New Brunswick right now and as new information is available to us we will definitely be sharing that with health care providers,” Russell said.
No changes in school policy are anticipated at this juncture.