A hepatitis A outbreak in California and four other Western states is now linked to at least three known cases in the Bay Area connected to a brand of berries sold at Costco stores.
At least seven of the 30 cases of the liver disease were in California — including a 22-year-old woman in Santa Clara County, a 62-year-old woman in East Contra Costa County and an adult in Alameda County.
The Santa Clara County Public Health department said Tuesday the 22-year-old woman was hospitalized in late May after she became ill with Hepatitis A. She had consumed the frozen berry blend that was purchased from Costco. She has since been released from the hospital and is recovering well, county officials said.
Health officials in CoCo and Alameda wouldn't say more about the other two cases, only that the two have been treated and released from the hospital.
The virus was believed to be linked to Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend. Costco has removed the product from its shelves, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Attorney Bill Gaar, representing Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., told the Associated Press that investigators appeared to be focusing on imported pomegranate seeds in the product.
The department has recommended anyone with the product at their home should throw it away. Anyone who has consumed the fruit mix in the last 14 days should contact their doctor, said the agency's director, Dr. Ron Chapman.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A can show up between two and six weeks after consuming the product. Common symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, and yellowing of the skin and white parts of eyes (jaundice), according to health officials.
The potentially severe illness can last up to several months and can require hospitalization.
The illnesses have been reported since the end of April in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.