Hepatitis in San Diego: Two occurrences tied to Townsend Farms frozen berries from Costco

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hepatitis1There have been two outbreaks of hepatitis A reported in San Diego. Both appear to have been caused by eating Townsend Farms brand frozen berries.

Dr. Eric McDonald, who is deputy county health officer for San Diego announced, “If you ate Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend frozen berries within the past two weeks and you have never been vaccinated for hepatitis A or had the disease, you should contact your health care provider to discuss hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin.”

Those without a doctor can call the county of San Diego’s Epidemiology Program at (619) 692-8499 . The immune globulin or vaccine for hepatitus A offers protection if administered no more than two weeks after the exposure. In addition, the virus may not cause any symptoms or illness for a month after exposure.

The county release said that the disease can cause mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, dark urine and jaundice (yellow eyes or skin). Anyone experiencing such ailments needs to obtain immediate medical care and should go to the emergency room of a hospital.

The county office said there is a low probability of anyone being infected after consuming the frozen berries. Any previous vaccination for hepatitis A will continue to prevent any new infection.hepatits2

This hepatitis A occurrence is under investigation now by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal Food and Drug Administration, and the California Department of Public Health. Costco has confirmed that the berries have been taken off the shelves of all stores. The outlet chain will try to call any consumers who bought the frozen food within the last few months.

In addition, the processing facility of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Oregon, is under inspection by the FDA. This is where the berry mix was purchased by Costco.

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