CDC: 87 people affected by berry-related hepatitis A - Tucson News Now

CDC: 87 people affected by berry-related hepatitis A

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A hepatitis A outbreak linked to a frozen berry mix has grown to 87 people in eight states, including Arizona, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC said the outbreak, which is linked to the mix sold at Costco stores, has also been reported in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Washington.

The mix, called frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend, was recalled by Townsend Farms of Fairview, OR, last week. It was sold under the Townsend Farms label at Costco and under Harris Teeter label at those stores. The illnesses have been linked only to the mix sold at Costco so far.

The Maricopa County Department of Health told CBS 5 News last week there were nine cases statewide, with seven in Maricopa County.

According to a complaint filed in court on Thursday, plaintiff Karen Echard of Anthem bought the berries in the Phoenix area in April and got sick May 21 with symptoms of a hepatitis A infection, including fever, chills, nausea, abdominal pains and jaundice.

Spokeswoman Suzanne Schreck, of the law firm Marler Clark, said Echard spent five days in the hospital and said Echard is worried about losing her job as a healthcare practitioner.

Schreck said the lawsuit asks for damages, including physical injury, medical and medically-related expenses, wages and lost earnings.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease ranging from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to severe illness lasting several months.

The vaccine can be effective if received within 14 days of consuming the product.

Costco was offering free hepatitis A vaccines to customers who purchased the affected frozen berries.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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