This handout image provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows the label of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., Organic Antioxidant Blend, packaged under the Townsend Farms label at Costco and under the Harris Teeter brand at those stores.
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Viral Hepatitis

Posted June 12, 2013 12:15 PM ET

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses. Preliminary results from the ongoing investigation are highlighted below.

At a Glance:

Latest Case Count Map
Latest Epi Curve

Highlights

  • Read the Advice to Consumers »
  • As of June 11, 2013, we are investigating acute hepatitis A illnesses in 99 people in eight states: Arizona, California Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Washington.
  • Based on epidemiologic investigation of 73 cases:
    • 47 (64%) ill people are women
    • Ages range from 2 – 87 years
    • Illness onset dates range from 3/16/2013 – 6/1/2013
    • 38 (52%) ill people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported
    • 63 of 73 (86%) ill people interviewed reported eating “Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend” frozen berry and pomegranate mix
    • All ill people reported purchasing this product from Costco markets; however, the product was also sold at Harris Teeter stores. No cases have been identified that bought the product at Harris Teeter at this time.
  • Investigation by state and local health departments, FDA, and CDC is ongoing.  Costco notified its members who purchased this product since late February 2013, and has removed the “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend” frozen berry and pomegranate mix from its shelves.
    • FDA has begun an inspection of the processing facilities of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Oregon.
    • The FDA is also finalizing a protocol to test berries for the Hepatitis A virus (HAV), and will be testing samples related to the outbreak, including the frozen blend for the presence of HAV.
  • On June 3, 2013, Townsend Farms, Inc. of Fairview, Oregon voluntarily recalled certain lots of its frozen Organic Antioxidant BlendExternal Web Site Icon because it has the potential to be contaminated with hepatitis A virus.
  • Preliminary laboratory studies of specimens from two states suggest the outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is genotype 1B. This strain is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in the North Africa and Middle East regions.
  • This genotype was identified in a 2013 outbreak in Europe linked to frozen berries and another 2012 outbreak in British Columbia related to a frozen berry blend with pomegranate seeds from Egypt. However, there is no evidence at this time that these outbreaks are related.
  • According to the label, the “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend” frozen berry and pomegranate mix associated with illness contained products originating from the U.S., Argentina, Chile, and Turkey.
  • Hepatitis A is a human disease and usually occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene.  However, food contaminated with HAV, as is suspected in this outbreak, can cause outbreaks of disease among persons who eat or handle food.

 

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AP/ June 11, 2013, 9:53 PM

Hepatitis A linked to frozen berries sickens 87

This handout image provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows the label of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., Organic Antioxidant Blend, packaged under the Townsend Farms label at Costco and under the Harris Teeter brand at those stores.

This handout image provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows the label of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., Organic Antioxidant Blend, packaged under the Townsend Farms label at Costco and under the Harris Teeter brand at those stores. / FDA/AP

WASHINGTON The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to a frozen berry mix sold at Costco has grown to 87 people with illnesses in eight states.

The CDC said Tuesday that illnesses have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Washington.

Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., last week recalled its frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend, packaged under the Townsend Farms label at Costco and under the Harris Teeter brand at those stores. So far the illnesses have only been linked to the berries sold at Costco.

Craig Wilson, director of food safety at Costco, said the store is providing vaccinations for people who ate the berries within the last two weeks and is reimbursing others who have gotten the vaccine outside the store. The store has contacted about 240,000 people who purchased the berries at one of their stores, Wilson said. The company knows who bought the berries because purchases are linked to a membership card that customers present when they check out.

 

Read Full Article Here

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