Eight San Diego County Cases Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak

The number of San Diego County Hepatitis A cases associated with a recall of Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries sold through Costco has grown to eight, according to officials with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

The eight local individuals with hepatitis A reported eating the frozen berry blend purchased from Costco.  Six of the cases were hospitalized and have fully recovered. Two more local cases are currently under investigation.

At least 49 cases in seven states have been identified in the outbreak, and at least 12 have been reported in other counties in California. HHSA is investigating the outbreak with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration, the California Department of Public Health, and other state and local health departments. Health officials expect more cases to be reported because it can take up to seven weeks to become ill with hepatitis A after exposure to the virus.

“If you ate the recalled frozen berry blend within the past two weeks, talk to your health care provider about getting immunizations to prevent the illness,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer. “Anyone who ate the product should be aware of the symptoms of hepatitis A and seek medical attention early if they appear.”

Signs of hepatitis A can appear between two and seven weeks after exposure. Symptoms include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, dark urine and jaundice (yellow eyes or skin). It is important that if you have these symptoms you seek medical attention and do not work in food service, health care or child care until you are no longer infectious.

Anyone who ate the recalled product and has questions about possible exposure to hepatitis A should check for information at the HHSA website at www.sdcounty.ca.gov/hhsa.

The hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin can prevent infection if given within 14 days of exposure. The vaccine has been recommended for children since 1999, so children who have already been vaccinated should be protected.

If you do not have a health care provider, you can contact the County of San Diego’s Epidemiology Program at 619-692-8499.  Individuals who do not have a provider may also call 2-1-1 to find a list of medical providers in their communities.

Townsend Farms has voluntarily recalled the frozen berry product and has asked consumers to discard it immediately. The product was sold at Costco warehouse stores in California under the name  Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend.  The three pound bags have the product code UPC 0 78414 404448 located on the back of the package with the words “BEST BY”; followed by the code T012415 sequentially through T053115, followed by a letter.

For more information on hepatitis A, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov and search “hepatitis A”.

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Posted by Ashley Mackin on Jun 5, 2013. Filed under Health & Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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