At least 87 people in eight states are now known to have been sickened with hepatitis A in the outbreak connected to Townsend Farms frozen berries sold at Costco stores, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At least 36 people have been hospitalized. Based on known information, roughly 66 percent of cases are female, with the age of those infected ranging from 2 to 84.
Townsend Farms recalled all potentially contaminated products on June 4, including a berry mix sold at Harris Teeter stores. No illnesses have been associated with the Harris Teeter mix.
The Costco product was sold in a 3 lb. bag labeled “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, with UPC code 0 78414 404448.
Early tests have identified the virus as genotype 1B, a type rarely found in North America but more common in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Those investigating the outbreak say the contamination came from the mix’s pomegranate seeds, which were grown in Turkey.
Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fatigue, aching muscles, nausea, fever and abdominal pain. Those who ate the berries but have not experienced symptoms may be able to prevent infection by receiving a hepatitis A vaccine within two weeks. Those who have received a vaccine in the past do not need another one and should not fall ill.
© Food Safety News