COCHISE COUNTY (Tucson News Now) - An outbreak of Hepatitis A in the west linked to a frozen-fruit mix has health workers offering vaccine.
State and local health workers say no cases have been reported in Cochise County, but at least 30 infections have turned up elsewhere, including seven cases in Arizona.
The outbreak has been linked to the consumption of Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend berrymix that was sold at Costco. Costco has removed the product from its stores and is contacting those who bought it.
Even without the vaccine, health workers say it appears that there is a very low risk of contracting hepatitis A from the berry mix. They're asking persons who have consumed the berry mix in the last 14 days, and have not previously had a hepatitis A vaccine (or have not previously been diagnosed with hepatitis A) to consider getting a vaccination against hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is a viral illness that attacks the liver. 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). Most people recover within a few weeks or so, but sometimes hepatitis A can lead to hospitalization and severe illness.
Cochise Health and Social Services is receiving a supply of hepatitis A vaccine that will be available starting Wednesday, June 5 at the Sierra Vista clinic. For further information on obtaining the vaccine, please call 520-803-3900.
For further information on hepatitis A visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/a/and for specifics on this outbreak associated with Townsend Farms OrganicAntioxidant Blend frozen berry mix, visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Outbreaks/2013/A1b-03-31/index.html.