The CDC reported today that as of June 7, 2013, 79 people with acute hepatitis A infections that may be linked with consumption of a contaminated product have been reported by seven states: Arizona, California Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington. These numbers are expected to change as the investigation continues.
On June 3, 2013, Townsend Farms, Inc. of Fairview, Oregon voluntarily recalled certain lots of its frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend because it has the potential to be contaminated with hepatitis A virus.
Preliminary laboratory studies of specimens from two states suggest the outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is genotype 1B. This strain is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in the North Africa and Middle East regions.
This genotype was identified in a 2013 outbreak in Europe linked to frozen berries and another 2012 outbreak in British Columbia related to a frozen berry blend with pomegranate seeds from Egypt. The strain of 1B in the current outbreak does not match the European or Canadian outbreaks, however.
According to the label, the “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend” frozen berry and pomegranate mix associated with illness contained products originating from the U.S., Argentina, Chile, and Turkey.