Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked To Frozen Berries

Frozen berries

Image courtesy of BrianHolm / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

More than 75 people, in eight states, have become infected and sick with Hepatitis A that has been traced back to Oregon’s Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen pomegranate and berry mix.

Most of the sick are adults; however, one child has fallen ill because of the disease. Health officials were initially concerned children would be among the victims of the deadly disease because of its popular use in popsicles, smoothies, etc.  Officials credit the routine hepatitis A children vaccinations for the protection.

According to John Ward, director of the viral hepatitis program with the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, the one child who got sick– identified as a two-year-old – had not received their vaccinations.  Parents are urged to get their child vaccinated from this and other common disease.  The hep. A vaccination, which was first offered in 1996, occurs two times in a child’s life: the first occurs between six and 12 months of age with the second dose occurring six months later.

11 hepatitis A victims were hospitalized but there have been no deaths. Officials are expecting the number of people who become sick from the contamination to grow. To date, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii and Utah have reported illnesses.

Hep. A is an extremely contagious viral infection that attacks the liver. Some folks may never have symptoms; others could experience numerous ones including but not limited to: joint pain, stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, fever, dark urine, yellowing of the skin and eyes and clay-colored stool. In serious cases, the liver may fail and patients may need a transplant.  The virus is passed when the infected person handling the food has dirty hands.

Any person who has eaten or suspects they have eaten the tainted product needs to get in touch with their local health department to get screened and vaccinated. The product was sold by Harris Teeter and Costco stores. The Harris Teeter product is identified as Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend, 10 oz. bag.

The company faces one lawsuit already due to the contamination. Lynda Brackenridge of Lakewood, Calif. became sick from hep. A after consuming the berries. She bought them from a local Costco market and first became sick on May 22. Brackenridge is currently in the hospital, recovering from the disease, and her release date is not yet known.

Townsend voluntarily recalled the tainted products upon learning of the outbreak.

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Posted by on Jun 8 2013. Filed under Featured, Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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