Multistate outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections linked to pomegranate seeds from Turkey
Posted September 23, 2013
CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections. Results from the ongoing investigation are highlighted below.
- As of September 20, 2013, 162 people have been confirmed to have become ill from hepatitis A after eating ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’ in 10 states: Arizona (23), California (79), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (11), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). [Note: The cases reported from Wisconsin resulted from exposure to the product in California, the cases reported from New Hampshire reported fruit exposure during travel to Nevada, and the case reported in New Jersey was a household contact of a confirmed case from Colorado.] Currently, 6 of the confirmed cases are household contacts of confirmed cases (secondary cases).
- 90 (56%) ill people are women
- Ages range from 1 – 84 years;
- 94 (58%) of those ill were between 40 – 64 years of age.
- 11 children age 18 or under were also ill. None were previously vaccinated.
- Illness onset dates range from 3/31/2013 – 7/26/2013
- 71 (44%) ill people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported
- All ill people who reported eating this product purchased it from Costco markets; however, the product was also sold at Harris Teeter stores. No ill people have been identified that bought the product at Harris Teeter at this time.
- CDC continues to track hepatitis A cases in all states and test specimens in order to determine if any other cases are related to this outbreak.
- The major outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus, belonging to genotype 1B, was found in clinical specimens of 117 people in nine states: AZ, CA, CO, HI, NH, NJ, NM, NV, and WI. This genotype is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in North Africa and the Middle East.
- This genotype was identified in a 2013 outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections in Europe linked to frozen berries and a 2012 outbreak in British Columbia related to a frozen berry blend with pomegranate seeds from Egypt. However, there is no evidence at this time that these outbreaks are related to the ongoing U. S. outbreak.