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Organic Frozen Berries From Costco Cause Hepatitis A Outbreak

Mixed berries (Photo by Markus Mainka via Shutterstock)
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Thirty people nationwide have been infected with Hepatits A in an outbreak has been linked to an organic frozen berry mix sold at Costco.Frozen berries sold as "Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend" from a farm in Oregon have been linked to the outbreak that has mostly affected Western states. The company said that it traced the contamination to pomegranate seeds from Turkey that are used in the mix, according to the Associated Press. Costco has removed the product from their shelves and said it is working to notify customers who bought the product to throw it out.

In response to the outbreak, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is operating special clinics today and tomorrow to treat anyone who might have eaten the frozen berries, according to City News Service. Orange County health officials said that it wasn't hosting special clinics, but it encourages anyone who had the berries to get in touch with them through the Orange County Health Care Agency Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448.

The Los Angeles clinics operate today and Sunday from 10 a.m until 4 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Antelope Valley Health Center, 335 Avenue K-6, Lancaster
  • North Hollywood Health Center, 5300 Tujunga Ave., North Hollywood
  • Monrovia Health Center, 330 W. Maple Ave., Monrovia
  • Hollywood Wilshire Health Center, 5205 Melrose Ave., Hollywood
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Public Health, 11833 S. Wilmington Ave., Willowbrook
  • Whittier Health Center, 7643 S. Painter Ave., Whittier
  • Curtis Tucker Health Center, 123 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood.

There have been seven confirmed illnesses in California among people who ate the berries—two in San Bernardino County, one in L.A. County, Orange, Riverside, San Diego and Humboldt counties. There's a second possible case in L.A. county being investigated, CNS reports.Health experts say Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that shows up about 15 to 50 days after exposure. If you think you might have been exposed to the berries, you can receive a shot or vaccination to prevent or reduce the chance of getting the illness. You can read more about the disease here or better yet, talk to your doctor.