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Updated May 31, 2013 - 4:44 pm

CDC investigates Western US hepatitis A outbreak

DENVER — 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.

In total, seven cases have been confirmed in Arizona. Five of those were in Maricopa County.

“At this time, early in the investigation, it appears that there is a low risk in contracting hepatitis A from these berries, however, out of an abundance of caution, it is best to just throw away these berries if they are in your freezer,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health in a release. “If you have already received a hepatitis A vaccine or if you have had hepatitis A in the past, you should have protection from the illness.”

Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., referred calls to attorney Bill Garr. He
didn’t immediately return a message.

A Costco spokesman in Issaquah, Wash., says the company has removed the product
from stores and is contacting its members.

CDC, the federal Food and Drug Administration and state health departments are
investigating.

CDC says hepatitis A is a liver disease ranging from a mild illness lasting a
few weeks to a severe one lasting several months.

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