September 28, 2022

Hepatitis A Outbreak Associated with Berries Sold at Costco Includes 4 in Utah

The hepatitis A outbreak associated with frozen mixed berries sold Costco has sickened 79 people including at least four in Utah, according to state health officials. The four people in that state who became ill reported eating a frozen berry mix before the onset of illness which ranged from mid-March to mid-May. None of them was hospitalized and all have recovered.

Townsend Farms and Costco Hepatitis AThe frozen berry mix in question, “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend,” was sold in all 10 Utah Costco stores. The product has been recalled, but some consumers may have it in their freezers and should not eat it. Anyone who ate the product should contact a health care provider of local health department to ask about a vaccination which can prevent illness.

Hepatitis A is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools and yellow skin or eyes. These symptoms usually appear two to seven weeks after exposure and can last several weeks while the virus runs its course.

The frozen recalled berry mix contains products from the U.S., Argentina, Chile, and Turkey. Preliminary lab tests results on samples from two states suggest the outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is genotype 1B. This strain is normally found in North Africa and the Middle East and was the source of a 2013 outbreak in Europe linked to frozen berries and a 2012 outbreak in British Columbia associated with a  frozen berry blend with pomegranate seeds from Egypt. So far,  here is no evidence that the three outbreaks are related.
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