As of June 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 61 people have been sickened in a multi-state hepatitis A outbreak linked to a frozen berry mix from Townsend Farms in Fairview, Oregon.
Illnesses have been reported in Arizona, California Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, with patients ranging in age from 2 to 71. Eleven people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported. Illnesses were first reported in late April.
Townsend Farms voluntarily recalled lots of Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate blend on June 3. The product was sold at Costco and at Harris Teeter stores, though none of the cases identified so far are traced to berry mix from Harris Teeter.
The CDC advises consumers not to eat Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix purchased since late February and to discard any product they may have on hand. The blend was sold in 3 lb. bags at Costco (UPC 078414 40448) and 10-oz. bags at Harris Teeter (UPC 072036 70463 4).
Hepatitis A, a contagious liver disease, has an incubation period of approximately15 to 50 days, according to the CDC. Hepatitis A usually occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. Food contaminated with the hepatitis A virus, as is suspected in this case, can cause illness among people who eat or handle the food.
The CDC says vaccination can be effective against hepatitis A infection if received within two weeks of exposure. Consumers who have recently eaten the berry mix should contact a doctor or public health department about vaccination. People who have previously been vaccinated for hepatitis A are unlikely to become ill again and do not need additional vaccine, according to the CDC.