Possible 4th case of Hepatitis A linked to frozen berries

Published On: Jun 06 2013 11:08:00 PM HST

The Hepatitis A scare linked to frozen berries sold at Costco stores in Hawaii has many people wondering, 'Should I get a vaccination?'

The State Department of Health is investigating what could now be the fourth case linked to a specific product called Townsend Farms Anti-oxidant Blend.

"We have three confirmed cases.  Two on Oahu, one on Kauai, and possibly one on the Big Island.  The person on the Big Island who had a Hep A infection did not eat the specific Townsend recalled product, but ate a Townsend berry product," said Dr. Sarah Park of the Department of Health.

Townsend Farms recalled its Anti-Oxidant Organic Blend this week after dozens of Hepatitis A cases were confirmed in six states including Hawaii.

Early symptoms can include fatigue, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain that may not show up until weeks after getting infected.

"That period from exposure to symptom could be two weeks at the shortest to 50 days and an average of a month.  It's very possible people who have consumed the product in the last two weeks are fine now, but that could change," said Park.

Park believes people who have consumed the product can take necessary measures to minimize their risk of getting sick.

"Go to your doctor who knows your history who will know if you need to be monitored closely.  There are risk factors including age.  The older you are, the more likely you can have severe symptoms," said Park.

But Park says not everyone needs to be vaccinated.

"Since 2006, vaccination for Hepatitis A has been part of the vaccination program so most of our children and infants who have adhered to that plan are already protected," said Park.

Park says health insurance will not cover adult vaccinations.

However, Costco announced it will offer free vaccinations to customers who purchased and ate the recalled berries.


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