If you have eaten Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries during the past 14 days, please discuss with your doctor whether you should receive the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin. The hepatitis A vaccine can prevent infection if given within 14 days of exposure. Some people should receive immune globulin instead of the hepatitis A vaccine. If you have received hepatitis A vaccine in the past, you do not need to be revaccinated.
Where is the hepatitis A outbreak thus far?
- Colorado – The five Colorado residents affected include three women and two men ranging in age from 35 to 71.
- New Mexico – Two lab-confirmed cases of hepatitis A linked to the frozen berries have been reported in New Mexico. Onset of illness ranges from mid-April 2013 to late May 2013.
- Nevada – Five cases of hepatitis A have been identified in Nevada with 2 cases in Reno and 3 cases in Las Vegas.
- Arizona – Seven cases have been confirmed in Arizona, including five in Maricopa County, according to the county Department of Public Health.
- California – Six confirmed illnesses linked to the product in California in Humboldt, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. Three individuals have been hospitalized.
How is hepatitis A spread?
Hepatitis A virus is spread as a result of fecal contamination (fecal-oral route) and may be spread from person to person through close contact or through food handling. Contaminated food or beverages commonly spread the virus. People are at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A when they have been in close contact with an infected person.
What to do if you become ill?
If it has been more than 14 days since you have eaten these berries, the vaccine won’t be effective preventing infection. Please monitor for symptoms and contact your physician if you become ill.
Early signs of hepatitis A appear two to six weeks after exposure. Symptoms commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, dark urine and jaundice (yellow eyes or skin). It is very important if you have these symptoms that you do not go to work, especially if you work in food service, health care or child care.
The disease varies in severity, with mild cases lasting two weeks or less and more severe cases lasting four to six weeks or longer. Hepatitis A infection can be severe and can result in hospitalization. Some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice and may have an illness so mild it can go unnoticed. However, even mildly ill people can be highly infectious. People with symptoms suggestive of hepatitis should consult a physician immediately, even if symptoms are mild.