June 19, 2018

Townsend Farms Hepatitis A: Counties Offer Free Vaccinations

The hepatitis A outbreak associated with frozen, mixed berries from Townsend Farms has prompted some county health departments to offer free vaccinations. The berries were sold at Costco and Harris Teeter stores. As of June 5, 61 people in seven states had been sickened by the virus. Eleven people have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

townsend-hepatitisHepatitis A is a liver disease that is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus is spread when microscopic amounts of fecal matter from an infected person are ingested. Symptoms, which usually appear two to seven weeks after exposure include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, and yellow skin or eyes. These symptoms usually last six weeks while the virus runs its course.

If given within 14 days of exposure, a vaccination for HAV can prevent illness. In California, where 33 residents reported eating Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend purchased from Costco before becoming ill with HAV, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is has been offering free vaccination clinics this week which run until 4:30 today.

In Arizona, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health is also offering free vaccinations. In New Mexico, where there are four confirmed cases, the New Mexico Department of Health  has hepatitis A vaccine available at local public health offices around the state. If you think you were exposed to HAV from berries you have purchased, contact your health care provider.

 

 

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