October 15, 2018

Townsend Farms Hepatitis A Outbreak Sickens 153; 66 Hospitalized

The Townsend Farms-Costco hepatitis A outbreak has now sickened 153 people in nine states. Sixty-six people have been hospitalized with acute hepatitis A. New Hampshire is now included in the case count. The case in New Hampshire reported exposure to the product after traveling to Nevada.

Hepatitis-A-72513

The count of ill persons by state is as follows: Arizona (22), California (75), Colorado (27), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Mexico (9), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). Eighty five, or 56%, of the ill persons are women. The age range is from 1 to 84 years. Illness onset dates range from 3/31/13 to 7/9/13. No deaths have been reported.

All ill persons who ate the recalled product bought it at Costco. The major outbreak strain of the virus, which is genotype 1B, was found in clinical specimens of 89 people in eight states: Arizona (11), California (34), Colorado (23), Hawaii (7), New Hampshire (1), New Mexico (6), Nevada (6), and Wisconsin (2). There is a current outbreak of hepatitis A infections in Europe linked to frozen berries, but there is no evidence that that outbreak is linked to the U.S. illnesses.

The CDC and FDA have determined that the most likely vehicle for the virus is pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey by Goknur Foodstuffs Import Expert Trading. The products containing those seeds have been recalled. If you ate or touched the recalled products, especially Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix, contact your healthcare provider to discuss vaccination options and how to monitor yourself for symptoms of the illness.

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