Friday, May 31, 2013
Six cases of hepatitis A that are believed to be linked to frozen berries sold at Costco stores have been confirmed in California, including patients in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties, state Department of Public Health officials said today.
The cases are part of a multi-state outbreak, and while three of the California patients required hospitalization, no deaths have been reported. At least 30 cases are being investigated nationwide, health officials said.
The state health department warned consumers not to eat Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries sold at Costco. The six California patients all ate the berries, according to CDPH.
"People who have bought this product should discard it if still found in their home,'' CDPH Director and State Health Officer Ron Chapman said.
"Anyone who has consumed this specific product in the last 14 days should contact their doctor to discuss possible hepatitis A prevention and treatment options.''
The product has been pulled from Costco shelves, health officials said, and the company is working to notify its customers who purchased the berries.
Hepatitis A can lead to hospitalization and severe illness, although most people recover completely, according to the state. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-
colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice, a yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Symptoms generally develop two to six weeks after consuming contaminated food or drink.
Two cases have been reported in San Bernardino County, along with a single case in Humboldt County, according to the state.