Hepatitis A outbreak from frozen berries spreads to Hawaii
The berry mix started at the Fairview, Oregon-based Townsend Farms. The product is called Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend and is typically used in frozen yogurt. A Townsend spokesman said that pomegranate seeds from the blend were imported from Turkey. Costco has removed the Townsend Farms product from the shelves.
There have been dozens of hepatitis A cases identified in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Hawaii.
Individuals who consumed the berry mix were urged to immediately get a hepatitis A vaccine, which can prevent the disease if the shot is given within two weeks of exposure.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms of the virus range from mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness that can last several months. Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A only occurs as an acute or newly occurring infection and does not lead to chronic disease.
More cases are expected since symptoms for hepatitis A do not appear until weeks after infection with the virus.