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Hepatitis A Outbreak

Health Alert for Health Care Providers - Updated pdf file

 

Hepatitis A outbreak associated with pomegranate seeds.
 

 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is working with the CDC, FDA and other state health departments to investigate an outbreak of hepatitis A cases associated with pomegranate seeds used in Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels, and potentially other products. As of August 1, 2013, 158 cases have been reported from 10 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wisconsin. Currently, 6 of the confirmed cases are household contacts of confirmed cases (secondary cases).

 

The following products contain pomegranate seeds that might be contaminated with Hepatitis A and have been recalled:

  • Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries sold exclusively at Costco

  • Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend frozen berries sold exclusively at Harris Teeter grocery stores

  • Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels sold at multiple retailers in Colorado and around the United States. Lots C 0129 (A, B, or C) 035 with a best by date of 02/04/2015, C 0388 (A, B, or C) 087 with a best by date of 03/28/2015, C 0490 (A, B, or C) 109 with a best by date of 04/19/2015. If person does not know which lot they consumed, it should be assumed that they consumed a potentially contaminated lot.


The state health department is asking people to check their freezers. If you have any of the products listed above, dispose of them. Do not eat them. However, if you have eaten one or these products during the past 14 days, contact your medical provider for a shot to prevent illness. If you do not have a medical provider, contact your local health department.

 

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 ate one of these products within the past 14 days please discuss with your doctor whether you should receive the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin. If you have received hepatitis A vaccine in the past, you do not need to be revaccinated.

 

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.

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. The virus is commonly spread by contaminated food or beverages. People are also at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A when they have been in close contact with an infected person.

For more information, please see the CDC website  or call COHelp at 1-877-462-2911 or 303-389-1687.  COHelp is available 9a.m. - 10p.m. Monday - Friday and 9a.m. - 5p.m. on the weekends.