Hepatitis A From Green Onions

Nov. 17, 2003 -- The Food and Drug Administration has advised that: "....several recent hepatitis A outbreaks have been associated with eating raw or undercooked green onions (scallions)....Hepatitis A outbreaks associated with raw or undercooked green onions served in restaurants occurred in Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia in September. Another outbreak of hepatitis A among patrons of a single restaurant occurred in Pennsylvania during late October and early November...The source of the green onions in the Tennessee outbreak appears to be Mexico."

Comment: If there were outbreaks back in September due to green onions, why are the FDA and CDC just now "actively investigating the outbreaks...so that corrective action can be taken"? How long does it take to track down some green onions? The delay may have led to the most recent outbreak in which 3 people have died and more than 500 have been sickened by eating at a Chi-Chi's restaurant about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

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Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com