Hepatitis A outbreak grows; FDA continues tests

07/25/2013 02:20:00 PM
Coral Beach

Cases of hepatitis A linked to frozen pomegranate arils from Turkey are at 153 and counting, and at least three U.S. companies have recalled products.

No deaths have been reported in relation to the outbreak, but 66 people have been admitted to hospitals, according to the July 25 update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although nine states have confirmed cases of the strain of hepatitis A, two patients in Wisconsin and one in New Hampshire involve people who were exposed to implicated products in California and Nevada.

The Food and Drug Administration put the Turkish company Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading on the import alert list June 29 and reports no pomegranate arils from the company have been allowed into the U.S. since then.

FDA developed a test and is checking products from the U.S. companies for possible hepatitis A contamination. The CDC reports that all of the confirmed cases involve people who consumed Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen mixed berries from Townsend Farms, Fairview, Ore. Townsend initiated a recall June 4.

Scenic Fruit Co., Gresham, Ore., recalled specific lots of its Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels on June 26 because of the outbreak, which involves a kind of hepatitis that is rare in the U.S. but common in the Mideast, according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the hepatitis A genotype involved in this outbreak is identical to one that caused an outbreak earlier this year in Europe and another outbreak in late 2012 in British Columbia, Canada. Both of those outbreaks involved pomegranate arils from Egypt.



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