Update: Hawaii health officials say eight people diagnosed with Hepatitis A

Two Hepatitis A cases possibly linked to frozen organic berry mix

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - [Update July 10 at 6:34 p.m.]

Hawaii health officials have now confirmed eight Hepatitis A cases in Hawaii from tainted frozen berries. 

They became sick after eating packages of Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend sold at Costco stores.

Three cases are on Oahu, two are on Kauai, and three are on Maui. All have recovered.

The product has infected a total of 143 people in eight states. Costco recalled the bags and reached out to customers who bought them.

[Update June 8 at 5:35 p.m.]

The State Health Department says a fifth person in Hawaii has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

The source being investigated is frozen berries sold at Costco. The Distributors, Townsend Farms, recently recalled its Organic Antioxidant Blend Berries.

Four of the patients ate that product, but a Big Island man ate a different Townsend Farms frozen berry mix that was not organic.

Officials are trying to determine whether the berries or something else caused his illness.

[Update June 7 at 12:40 p.m.]

Hawaii health officials now say there are four cases of Hepatitis A linked to a frozen organic berry mix sold at Costco stores in Hawaii.

The Department of Health says there are three cases on Oahu and one case from Kauai. All patients are adults.

The DOH says they are still investigating a handful of other patients and the number of cases could go up.

Meanwhile, Costco is offering free vaccinations to anyone who bought the frozen berry mix linked to the Hepatitis outbreak.

Any Costco pharmacy in Hawaii will provide the vaccine. This is for those who bought Townsend Farm's Organic Antioxidant Blend Berries.

You do not need a receipt, but you will have to fill out an incident report.

The berries have sickened more than 60 people in 7 states.

[Original story posted below] 

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating an outbreak of Hepatitis A linked to a frozen organic berry mix sold at Costco stores in Hawaii.

At least 30 cases on the mainland are linked to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, which contains pomegranate seed mix.

Hawaii health officials said they are investigating three cases of people who may have contracted the illness from the product.

The three patients are adults -- two live on Oahu, the other on Kauai.

The product was sold at Costco stores in Hawaii, and has been voluntarily recalled. DOH has been advised by a Costco representative that the product was pulled from its shelves in all Hawaii stores from May 29 to 30. Costco reports that they have been contacting all customers, who purchased the product, regarding its recall. The public is advised to discard or return any remaining product.

"If someone had purchased the product and they had it stored, they should discard the product. They shouldn't eat it. Or call the store and return it to the store," said Hawaii Health Department spokesperson Janice Okubo.

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes. Illness usually occurs from two weeks to as long as 50 days after consumption of contaminated food or water (e.g., prepared by an infected food handler who did not properly wash their hands or from produce contaminated in the field). Persons should seek medical attention immediately should they develop symptoms.

"Hepatitis A infection is a vaccine preventable disease, and fortunately, most children and adolescents have been vaccinated as part of routine childhood vaccination recommendations," said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist. "However, many adults have not been vaccinated and will be susceptible,"

Anyone who consumed the implicated product during the past month is encouraged to consult their medical provider regarding vaccination. Most persons with hepatitis A infection will recover without complications but may require supportive therapy and close monitoring by their physician. All cases of suspected hepatitis A infection should be reported to the Department of Health by calling (808) 586-4586.

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