Entries in Hepatitis A (3)


Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Turkish Pomegranate Seeds

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The FDA announced Saturday it will block shipments of pomegranate seeds from a company in Turkey after U.S. health officials determined that the seeds are to blame for a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A that has sickened more than 120 people.

The outbreak began several months ago, and as of this week the CDC reports 127 people were exposed and sickened by in 10 states across the U.S. Health officials were able to trace the outbreak back to the seeds that were used in Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, a frozen food blend sold at Costco and Harris Teeter.

“Hepatitis A is a foodborne illness,” explained ABC News' Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr Richard Besser. “It's spread from either contaminated food or contaminated waters, so the presumption is that [when] this was being harvested in Turkey, someone had hepatitis A and it was able to get onto the seeds. From there it survives very well.”

Pomegranate seeds were a particularly effective vehicle for the spread of disease, as the seeds are eaten raw. “Whenever you're eating a raw product, you're at greater risk of a food-borne illness because heat is one of the best ways of killing so many different germs,” Besser said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


FDA Investigating Hepatitis A Outbreak in Five States

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating an outbreak of Hepatitis A in five states that may be linked to a frozen food blend.

According to a press release from the FDA, at least 30 people have been infected with Hepatitis A in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California. Thus far, 11 of 17 patients interviewed by the CDC said they ate Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend before they got sick.

The FDA has already begun to inspect Townsend Farms' processing facilities in Fairview, Ore. Additionally, the FDA is working on a method to test berries for the Hepatitis A virus and will be testing samples related to the outbreak, including the frozen blend.

Hepatitis is a contagious liver disease that can range from mild to severe. According to the FDA, the infection is most commonly spread through ingestion of fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts. Symptoms of Hepatitis A include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

The CDC is recommending that consumer do not eat Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend and that any remaining product should be thrown away, even if the product has already been partially eaten and no one has gotten sick. Retailers and food service operators are also being advised not to sell the anti-oxidant blend pending the end of the investigation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Possible Exposure to Hepatitis A Reported at North Carolina Olive Garden

Paul Tearle/Thinkstock(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- Public health officials Monday warned of the possible transmission of hepatitis A at a Fayetteville, N.C., Olive Garden.

Patrons and employees who were at the restaurant on July 25, 26, 28, 29 and 31 and Aug. 1, 2 and 8 have been been exposed to the virus from an Olive Garden employee, according to Raleigh ABC-TV affiliate WTVD.

Buck Wilson, director at the Cumberland County Public Health Department, advised that all "persons working or visiting the restaurant on these dates receive an injection of Hepatitis A immune globulin or vaccine immediately."

The health department is offering the hepatitis A vaccine to individuals exposed to the virus.  Officials say an injection must be administered immediately as infection can be prevented within 14 days of exposure.

WTVD reports that individuals may have also been exposed before July 25, and the vaccine is no longer effective in these cases.  However, these individuals should be aware of early hepatitis A symptoms such as mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, dark urine, pain in the upper right abdomen, light color stools and jaundice.  Anyone experiencing these symptoms should consult a physician.

Hepatitis A is often spread through the ingestion of fecal matter from objects, food or beverages contaminated by an infected person.  Careful, frequent hand-washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

Questions and concerns regarding hepatitis A cases at the Fayetteville Olive Garden should be directed to the Cumberland County Health Department at 910-433-3638.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio