Hepatitis A outbreak linked to pomegranate seeds from Turkey climbs to 162
The multistate hepatitis A outbreak linked to ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’, which contained pomegranate seeds from a company in Turkey, has increased to 162 cases as of Sept. 20, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) update Monday.
The cases have been recorded from 10 states to include Arizona (23), California (79), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (11), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2).
The CDC notes that the cases reported from Wisconsin resulted from exposure to the product in California, and the cases reported from New Hampshire reported fruit exposure during travel to Nevada.
All those affected reported eating this product purchased it from Costco markets.
The strain of hepatitis A, belonging to genotype 1B, was found in the majority of the patients. The CDC says this genotype is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in North Africa and the Middle East.
Based on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traceback and traceforward investigations and the CDC’s epidemiological investigation, FDA and CDC have determined that the most likely vehicle for the hepatitis A virus appears to be a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from a company in Turkey, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading.
The berry mix was recalled earlier this summer and on June 29, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will detain shipments of pomegranate seeds from Goknur Gida Maddeleri Ithalat Ihracat Tic (Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading) of Turkey when they are offered for import into the United States. There have not been any importations of these products since that time.
The Turkish company has since been put on two separate Import Alerts.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.
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