WEDNESDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- The number of people now ill in a hepatitis A outbreak that may be tied to a frozen berry/pomegranate mix continues to rise, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday.
As of June 4, 49 people in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Hawaii and California have been reported ill with hepatitis A that may be connected to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix, according to an update issued Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Tuesday, Oregon-based Townsend Farms recalled the frozen berry mixes, which were sold to Costco and Harris Teeter stores. The mixes were sold under the Townsend Farms label at Costco and under the Harris Teeter brand at that chain of stores, the Associated Press reported.
According to the World Health Organization, hepatitis A illnesses typically arise within 14 and 28 days of infection. Symptoms may include nausea, fever, lethargy, jaundice and loss of appetite. There's a vaccine against hepatitis A, and it may ease symptoms if given soon after exposure to the virus.
Data from 26 of the 49 patients affected in the new outbreak shows that 44 percent have been hospitalized, with ages ranging from 2 to 71 years. The dates of the start of illnesses range from April 29 to May 24.
Nineteen of 25 patients who were interviewed said they ate Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix. Nineteen patients said they bought the product from Costco markets, but investigators are still trying to determine if the product was also sold at other stores besides Costco and Harris Teeter, the CDC said.
Costco has removed the product from its shelves and is notifying members who purchased the product since late February 2013. As of Tuesday, Harris Teeter Supermarkets has also voluntarily pulled the frozen organic berry blend from its store shelves,
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