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Maricopa County Public Health Investigating Several Hepatitis A Infections Associated with Consumption of Frozen Berries Sold at Costco
PHOENIX (May 31, 2013) – The Maricopa County Department of Public Health in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A associated with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of berries sold at Costco.
As of May 31, 2013, approximately 30 human infections are being investigated in 5 states. 5 lab-confirmed cases of hepatitis A linked to the berries have been reported in Maricopa County; 7 in Arizona. Onset of illness ranges from late April to late May 2013. Costco has removed the product from its stores.
“At this time, early in the investigation, it appears that there is a low risk in contracting hepatitis A from these berries, however, out of an abundance of caution, it is best to just throw away these berries if they are in your freezer,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “If you have already received a hepatitis A vaccine or if you have had hepatitis A in the past, you should have protection from the illness.”
Vaccine can be effective in preventing illness if received within 14 days of consuming the product. Persons who have consumed this product in the last 14 days should consider contacting their health care provider about getting a vaccination against hepatitis A. People who have had physician diagnosed hepatitis A or have received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine in the past do not need to receive more vaccine.
For those without a healthcare provider or whose provider does not carry the vaccine, Public Health will have hepatitis A vaccine available at no cost at its 3 clinics starting Monday from 8 am to 5 pm. No appointment is necessary.
- 1645 E Roosevelt St in Phoenix (Closed Wednesday)
- 635 E. Broadway in Mesa (Closed Thursday)
- 6666 W. Peoria Ave in Glendale (Closed Tuesday)
Hepatitis A is a viral illness that attacks the liver. Early signs of hepatitis A appear two to six weeks after exposure. Symptoms commonly 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). Most people recover within a few weeks or so, but sometimes hepatitis A can lead to hospitalization and severe illness.
It is very important that if you have symptoms like this that you wash your hands after using the bathroom and that you do not go to work if you work in food service, health care or child care.
For further information on hepatitis A visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/a/and for specifics on this outbreak associated with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry mix, visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Outbreaks/2013/A1b-03-31/index.html.
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