October 24, 2014

Hepatitis A Outbreak Sickens 161, 70 are Hospitalized

The hepatitis A  outbreak linked to contaminated pomegranate seeds in Townsend Farms frozen berry mix has sickened 161 people in 10 states, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seventy people have been hospitalized.

Mixed-Frozen-BerriesBy state, the case count is as follows: Arizona (23), California (78), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (11), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). [Note: The Wisconsin cases resulted from exposure to the product in California, the New Hampshire cases resulted from reported fruit exposure during travel to Nevada, and the case reported in New Jersey was a household contact of a confirmed case from Colorado.]

Help for Hepatitis A VictimsSix of the cases are household contacts of confirmed cases, or secondary cases. The patients range in age from 1 year to 84 years old. About 55 percent of those sickened are women. Eleven of those sickened were children under 18 who had not been vaccinated. The onset of illness dates range from March 31 to July 26. Those who became sick ate frozen berries that contained tainted pomegranate seeds from Turkey. The berry mix, made by Townsend Farms, was sold at Costco.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection.  Symptoms include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, dark urine, clay colored stools and jaundice. The contaminated berries were sold at other store, but only berries purchased from Costco were linked to illnesses. Following is a timeline of key dates in the outbreak investigation in 2013.

 

Comments

  1. Gene Cox says:

    I am always offered hep a and hep b vaccines from my doctor, but never accept them. I agree with the above comment about having those vaccinations as an adult.

  2. Gene Cox says:

    “fruit exposure during travel?” What is that. Before I read the article, my suspicions always go to using dung for fertilizer for organic products. That is why I do not buy them. Phosphorous and nitrogen run no risks of hep A.

  3. Tami K. Hastings says:

    Eleven of those sickened were children under 18 who had not been vaccinated. Although, I have misgivings about immunizations as an adult, I think that it is negligence not to vaccinate children.

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