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Hepatitis A outbreak linked to Ore. berry farm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to a frozen organic berry mix from a farm in Oregon.

The FDA and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 30 illnesses are linked to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, which contains pomegranate seed mix. Illnesses were reported in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can last from a few weeks to a several months. It is spread when a person ingests, even in tiny amounts, contaminated fecal matter.

The FDA said it is inspecting the processing facilities of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., which sold the mix.

Hepatitis A illnesses occur within 15 to 50 days of exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

Vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure, and those who have already been vaccinated are unlikely to become ill, according to CDC.

A lawyer for Townsend Farms has not returned calls for comment. The government has not announced a recall, but the CDC recommended that retailers and other food service operators should not sell or serve Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend.

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Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mcjalonick

Associated Press


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