At least 30 people in five states have been hospitalized with hepatitis after consuming a berry drink from Costco.
The disease is apparently associated with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries, sold by Costco.
The first cases were reported on April 29th, and the latest on May 21st. Five of the cases are in Colorado, but because it takes approximately 30 days to feel the full effects of hepatitis A, there could be many more cases reported in the near future.
This blend includes cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries. Costco has removed the item from their shelves, although there has been no formal recall. Costco was unaware that they were selling berries bearing the hepatitis A disease. They are in full cooperation with authorities.
The Colorado cases reside in the Adams, Boulder, Clear Creek, Eagle and Jefferson counties. Three women and two men have become ill. They range in age from 35 to 71 years.
State and federal health officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.
FDA is further investigating this product, including testing berries for the hepatitis A virus. The investigation may take several weeks to complete.
The health departments in the states affected are telling consumers that if you have Townsend Farms Organic Berry products in your freezer to dispose of them. Although the risk is low of being affected by the disease, if you believe you have eaten the product in the last 14 days, contact your health professional and consult with him or her as soon as possible.
Symptoms of the disease are 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). If you have eaten the product, and have any of these symptoms, it is extremely important that you avoid contact with others as much as possible, and consult your doctor. Advise him before you plan to visit his office, he may want you to enter through and area where you will not come in contact with other patients.
Hepatitis A is spreads through fecal contamination, and may be passed to others through normal physical contact.
The CDC says hepatitis A is a liver disease ranging from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe one lasting several months.
If you have been, or believe you have been infected for less than 14 days, a vaccine may be administered and insure that you will not feel the effects of the virus.
Costco is taking the fact that they had been selling the hepatitis bearing product very seriously.
The Guardian Express