Thirty people have been infected with acute hepatitis A
The frozen fruit mix is commonly used in smoothies
The outbreak has been traced to pomegranate seeds from Turkey, lawyer says
Hepatitis A inflames the liver and limits its ability to function
A frozen fruit mix commonly used in smoothies is suspected in a hepatitis A outbreak that has affected five Western states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Thirty people have been infected with acute hepatitis A, and nine of them have been hospitalized. Infections have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, the CDC website said Friday.
Nineteen of the 25 ill people interviewed by the CDC reported eating the Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend.
The fruit mix with contaminated ingredients was sent to Costco stores and Harris Teeter stores. At Costco, the recalled codes include T012415 through T053115; consumers can find these on the back of the package near the words “BEST BY.” Harris Teeter packages have “BEST BY” codes of T041615E or T041615C.
The outbreak has been traced to pomegranate seeds from Turkey that are in the Townsend Farms fruit mix, according to the company statement. The mix contains pomegranate seeds and other produce from Argentina, Chile and the United States.
“There is no indication that cherries and other berries are contaminated,” said William E. Gaar, an attorney for Townsend Farms.
State health departments, the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC continue to investigate. The company was notified about the outbreak Thursday by the CDC, which sent investigators to the Townsend Farms processing plant in Fairview, Oregon, Gaar said.
Hepatitis A is usually transmitted via contaminated food or water, or by someone who’s infected, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Frequent hand-washing is recommended to limit the spread of hepatitis A.
The highly contagious infection inflames the liver and limits its ability to function.
“Mild cases of hepatitis A don’t require treatment, and most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage,” the Mayo Clinic website says.
Severe cases can lead to liver failure and death, according to the World Health Organization. There are an estimated 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A annually worldwide.
There are an estimated 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A annually worldwide, according to WHO.
CNN’s Greg Morrison contributed to this report.