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Tue, Oct. 15

Frozen berries lead to Hepatitis outbreak

Yavapai County Community Health Services, along with the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Food & Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and health officials in other states are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses potentially associated with Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, a frozen blend containing pomegranate seed mix.

As of May 31, 2013, 30 people infected with Hepatitis A have been reported from 5 states: Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.

Through interviews with ill patients, the CDC has reported that 11 of 17 patients interviewed thus far recalled eating Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, which was sold at Costco and other stores nationally.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter - even in microscopic amounts - from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person. Illness occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

CDC recommends that consumers do not eat Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend and discard any remaining product from your freezers. Even if some of the product has been eaten without anyone in your home becoming ill, the rest of the product should be discarded.

Hepatitis A vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to the contaminated product. The effectiveness of vaccine when administered greater than two weeks after exposure is not known.

If you consumed this product in the last two weeks and have never been vaccinated, contact your healthcare provider to determine if you should be vaccinated. If you don't have a healthcare provider (usually your doctor), you can schedule an appointment with a public health nurse for Hepatitis A vaccination by contacting Yavapai County Community Health Services at 771-3134.

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