Sacramento County issues health alert following Hepatitis A outbreak from frozen berries

10:26 PM, Jun 18, 2013   |    comments
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Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend

SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento County Division of Public Health and Environmental Management Department and the California Department of Public Health issued a health alert Tuesday in connection with an outbreak of Hepatitis A believed to be associated with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries purchased from Costco and possibly at other retail locations. Officials said two people including a child and one adult contracted Hepatitis.

Health Officer Olivia Kasirye, MD, said Costco removed the product from their shelves as of May 30, 2013, and was contacting consumers who have a history of purchasing the berries.

"There might be some small retailers that may have bought the product from Costco retailers," Kasirye said.

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Individuals who have not eaten the product directly may still have been exposed, as some Costco facilities in Sacramento County may have used the berries in shakes or smoothies for sampling, or in a dessert as a garnish, said Kasirye.

Anyone consuming the berries within the past two weeks who has not been vaccinated against Hepatitis A was urged to contact their healthcare provider to find out whether they should be vaccinated. 

According to Kasirye, individuals previously vaccinated against Hepatitis A are unlikely to become ill.

"I usually don't eat frozen berries so that is kind of shocking that it could happen," Costco shopper Tasha Giberts said.

Hepatitus A symptoms including yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice), abdominal pain, pale (light-colored) stools, or dark urine can take from 15 to 50 days to surface. Anyone exhibiting these conditions should contact a health car provider immediately, said Kasirye.

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Anyone without a health care provider can contact the Sacramento County Division of Public Health Immunization Assistance Program at (916) 875-7468 to schedule a vaccination.

As of June 14, approximately 106 cases have been reported in eight states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Washington. Of the 106 cases two cases were confirmed in Sacramento County.

Kasirye advised people to either discard any Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries or return them to Costco.



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