State DOH investigating 3 cases of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries

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Hawaii’s hepatitis scare is growing. There are now three confirmed cases of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries that were sold at Costco.

Costco has voluntarily recalled Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries and pulled them from the shelves on May 29 and 30.

It’s believed that the berries contain pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey which may be the cause of infection.

At this point, the state Department of Health says there are three cases of Hepatitis A — two of them on Oahu and one on Kauai.

The frozen berries are quite popular and might even be served by other small businesses.

KHON2’s Manolo Morales: “There’s a possibility that businesses that sell smoothies might have the purchased product?”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park: “Right, so they should immediately discard and/or let Costco know and return the product.”

The three people infected got sick in May and are either recovering now or have recovered. One of them went to the hospital.

The state is asking any businesses who served the product to do the right thing and let customers know.

“So that they know how to, they can consult their medical provider and they can be aware if they become ill later on they know what to do,” Dr. Park said.

Doctors say the good thing is that most people, about 99 percent of those who get hepatitis A, recover fully. They usually get the symptoms about a month after consuming the infected product, which include a fever, loss of appetite, and jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes.

“Basically, the liver’s not working right, so all those pigments the liver should get rid of it cannot get rid of, so they accumulate inside the body and show the yellowness,” said Dr. Naoky Tsai of the Queen’s Liver Center.

There’s no medicine to alleviate the symptoms, but a vaccine is available. Anyone who’s had hepatitis A before is immune and does not have to worry

All cases of suspected hepatitis A infection should be reported to the Department of Health by calling (808) 586-4586.

  • For more information regarding the multistate outbreak, please refer to the CDC website.
  • For more information regarding hepatitis A, please refer to the Department of Health fact sheet.
  • For a list of pharmacies that provide hepatitis A vaccine, please click here.

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