October 19, 2018

Townsend Farms Hepatitis A Outbreak Sickens 110

The hepatitis A outbreak associated with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend sold at Costco has now sickened 110 people in seven states. The numbers are changing daily in this outbreak; now the CDC reports that 48 people have been hospitalized. It seems they have the case count numbers updated; the number of people sickened in each state is as follows: Arizona (15), California (55), Colorado (21), Hawaii (6), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5), and Utah (3).

Hepatitis APatient age range is from 2 years to 87 years. Sixty-six people  (60%) are between the ages of 40 and 64. Four children under age 18 are infected; of those, none were hospitalized and none were previously vaccinated. In 1995, the government started recommending that children get a hepatitis A vaccine; since then, the number of new cases, especially among children, has plummeted.

Illness onset dates range from 3/31/13 to 6/11/13. All those who reported eating the recalled frozen berry blend bought it from Costco. Although the blend was sold at Harris Teeter stores under the Harris Teeter brand name, no cases have been identified who bought the product there.

The genotype of hepatitis A in this outbreak is 1B, usually found in the Middle East and North Africa. The fruit used in the blend was grown in the U.S., Argentina, Chile, and Turkey. If you purchased this product, monitor yourself for symptoms of hepatitis A, which usually manifest 28 days after exposure. See your doctor if you are fatigued, jaundiced, or have dark urine or clay colored stools. A hepatitis A vaccine will only work if given within 14 days of exposure.

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