Report: Outbreaks, Georgia And N.C. Hepatitis A Strains Linked

ATLANTA -- A new report says North Carolina's outbreak of hepatitis A probably came from green onions, which is also to blame for similar outbreaks in three other states.

Sixteen people were made sick following an outbreak this fall related to a Buncombe County restaurant.

A preliminary report from Georgia public health officials said the hepatitis-A strain in North Carolina is the same one that made 259 people sick in Georgia and likely came from the same source.

The Georgia outbreak had previously been traced to green onions shipped from Mexico. The report said a single distributor provided green onions from California suppliers to three Georgia restaurants where multiple people got the liver infection.

Health officials have said water or already infected workers may have contaminated the onions.

Federal health officials say green onions from Mexico probably were responsible for an outbreak in Pennsylvania. They stopped short of saying they came from one of three Mexican companies known to have supplied the onions blamed for other outbreaks.