Nearly 90 Sickened in Frozen Fruit Drink Hepatitis A Outbreak
As federal health regulators indicate that nearly 90 people throughout the U.S. have been sickened as part of a hepatitis A outbreak, the manufacturer of the frozen fruit at the center of the illnesses continues to face an increasing number of lawsuits.
According to the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are now 87 confirmed victims of the acute hepatitis A outbreak, with cases identified in at least eight states. No deaths have been associated with the outbreak.
The CDC believes the outbreak is linked to consumption of recalled Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix, which was sold at Costco and Harris Teeter stores and was recalled last week.
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At least four hepatitis A food poisoning lawsuits have been filed against Townsend Farms Corporation by victims of the outbreak. The lawsuits claim that plaintiffs contracted the liver disease after consuming the recalled berry mix.
Three of the lawsuits have been filed in California state courts, including one filed in El Cajon and two filed in San Diego county. A fourth lawsuit was filed in Arizona in federal court.
Additional complaints and potential class action lawsuits are expected in the coming weeks, as the number of reported cases is likely to grow substantially. The CDC is advising anyone who ate the frozen berry or pomegranate mix to get a hepatitis A vaccination.
Townsend officials say the outbreak appears to be linked to the pomegranate seeds in the blends, but also indicates that no tests have found hepatitis A in the actual product.
According to the CDC, most of the victims interviewed consumed the Townsend frozen drink blend and the strain of hepatitis A matches one linked to pomegranate seeds that caused illnesses in Europe earlier this year.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a viral infection. According to the CDC, a hepatitis A vaccination can be effective even up to two weeks after exposure. Anyone who has already had a hepatitis A vaccination is unlikely to contract the disease, the CDC advises.
Consumers who are not vaccinated and believe they have consumed the recalled drink should contact their healthcare provider if they show symptoms including:
- Yellow eyes or skin
- Abdominal pain
- Pale stools
- Dark urine
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