CDC Investigates Western U.S. Hepatitis A Outbreak - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

CDC Investigates Western U.S. Hepatitis A Outbreak

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State and federal health officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.
 
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday approximately 30 cases have been reported. 
 
CDC says the cases are "potentially associated" with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries purchased from Costco.

According to health officials, there are currently 2 cases in Reno and 3 cases in Las Vegas.
 
Attorney Bill Gaar, representing Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., says investigators appear to be focusing on imported pomegranate seed that's in the product. 
 
A Costco spokesman says the company has removed the product from stores and is contacting its members. Costco in Reno told us that you can get a refund without bringing the berries back, because they can look the purchase up in their records.
 
CDC, the federal Food and Drug Administration and state health departments are investigating.
 
Hepatitis A is a liver disease ranging from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe one lasting several months.

"We are directing anyone who has purchased this product to discard it immediately," said Interim Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. "In addition, if they have consumed the product within the last two weeks, people should contact their primary health care provider or the Health District to determine whether a hepatitis A vaccination is indicated."  People who have had physician diagnosed hepatitis A or have received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine in the past do not need to receive more vaccine, Dick added.

More information on hepatitis A can be found at www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Outbreaks/2013/A1b-03-31/index.html, on the Washoe County Health District website at http://www.washoecounty.us/health/hav, or by calling (775) 328-2447. The Health District's site also has information on immunization fees, clinic hours of operations, and appointment scheduling.

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). Most people recover in a week or so, but sometimes hepatitis A can lead to hospitalization and severe illness. It is very important that if you have symptoms like this you do not go to work, especially if you work in food service, health care or child care.

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