May 31, 2013 7:13 PM
Local health officials have been notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today of a multi-state Hepatitis A outbreak that may have a link to a particular frozen berry product purchased at Costco, according to a press release from the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency.
Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend Frozen Berries were available at various Costco stores, and anyone who has this product should dispose of it. If you have consumed the product within the past two weeks, your medical provider or many local pharmacies can give you a vaccine to prevent illness.
The first people started to become ill on April 29, with the most recent cases recorded on May 21. There have been 6 cases confirmed in 5 counties statewide, and Public Health officials are investigating one case that involves a Shasta County adult who did not need to be hospitalized and is recovering at home. The number of cases in the outbreak may change because of the 15-50 day average it takes to become ill, but the release indicated the risk of contracting Hepatitis A from eating these berries is probably low.
Hepatitis A has been recommended as a routine childhood vaccination since 1999, so children current on their Hepatitis A immunizations should be protected, as are those who have had Hepatitis A before.
Hepatitis A, a liver disease, is spread through fecal contamination and can be spread from person to person through close contact or food handling. Symptoms of Hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort and dark urine. Some people have no symptoms. Almost all people who get Hepatitis A recover completely. More information is available on the Centers for Disease Control website. The public can also call a local information line at 229-8461.