Poverty and Public Health
Thu June 6, 2013
Tainted Frozen Berries Spread Hepatitis-A Across West
More cases of Hepatitis ‘A’ found in tainted frozen berries from Costco Wholesale have been identified in New Mexico and the southwest, with 100 people who were exposed receiving a vaccination. At least 61 people are sick and have been hospitalized in seven states, including New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. David Selvage is an epidemiologist with DOH. He says people who have eaten the Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berries in the last 14 days should see their doctor or go to a clinic to get the Hepatitis-A vaccine. Some pharmacies can also dispense the vaccine, and, Selvage says, it’s especially important for people with liver disease or who are amino-compromised. “And if you have any of this product left over in your freezer at home, either dispose of it, throw it away, or dispose of it in a matter so that no one else can eat it or return it to Costco, says Selvage.” Selvage says the state has been giving the Hepatitus-A vaccine to children since 1999, so about 90-percent of kids have had the vaccine and are already protected. The New Mexico health department reports that there have been four confirmed cases of Hepatitis-A that have been traced to the frozen fruit product, and one patient has been hospitalized.