The number of confirmed illnesses part of the multistate Hepatitis A outbreak linked to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxident Berry Blend continues to creep up. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that there are now 122 confirmed cases, up two cases from the previous day and three more than the agency had confirmed on Monday. This week the outbreak also went from affecting 7 states to affecting 8, Wisconsin being the latest addition.
Arizona has 17 cases, California has 62, Colorado 25, Hawaii 5, New Mexico 5, Nevada 5, Utah 2 and Wisconsin 1, but the exposure in Wisconsin resulted from exposure to the product in California, according to CDC.
Nearly 60 percent of the victims are women. Illnesses onset dates range from the end of March to the middle of June and 45 percent of the reported illnesses have resulted in hospitalization. No deaths have been reported.
“Investigation by state and local health departments, FDA, and CDC is ongoing,” according to CDC. “FDA is inspecting the processing facilities of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Oregon.”
The outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus (HAV), belonging to genotype 1B, was found in clinical specimens of 36 people in six states. According to CDC, “this strain is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in North Africa and the Middle East.”
Hepatitis A is a human disease and usually occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. However, food contaminated with HAV, as is suspected in this outbreak, can cause outbreaks of disease among persons who eat or handle food. Anyone concerned about exposure or foodborne illness should contact their health provider or their local health department.© Food Safety News