July 16, 2018

Hepatitis A Townsend Farms-Costco Outbreak Now at 118 Sick

As of June 17, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that 118 people are now sick in the Costco-Townsend Farms Hepatitis A outbreak. Those sickened live in eight states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington. Forty seven people have been hospitalized in this outbreak. The case count is still not completely updated, but the latest is as follows: Arizona (14), California (50), Colorado (20), Hawaii (5), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5), and Utah (3).

Hepatitis A virusPublic health officials have interviewed 112 people in this outbreak. Sixty-six, or 59%, of the ill persons are women. The illness onset dates range from 3/16/13 to 6/8/13. No deaths have been reported. 80 of 112 ill people (71%) reported eating the recalled Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix before becoming ill. Everyone who is sick purchased the blend at Costco markets. It’s possible that secondary infections are occurring, since the virus is quite contagious.

The recalled frozen berry blend was distributed in Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington; but no cases from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, or Montana have been linked to the outbreak at this time. You can see advice to consumers from government officials at the CDC web site, which includes information on receiving a Hepatitis A vaccine and hygiene advice.

Hepatitis A is a human disease and occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without proper hygiene. Food can be contaminated with the virus. The virus is not killed by freezing, and is not killed by heat until the temperature reaches 185 degrees F.

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