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Number of berry-caused hepatitis A cases doubles

PHOENIX -- The number of hepatitis A cases linked to frozen berries sold at a warehouse grocery store has doubled in less than a week.

"The 61 cases are spread over seven states," said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine with Maricopa County Public Health. "We have nine cases total in Arizona, seven of which are in Maricopa County."

Costco pulled Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry mix from shelves after the news of the outbreak.

Sunenshine said anyone who consumed the berries within 14 days can get a vaccine to prevent illness, if it's been longer the vaccine will be ineffective.

"For those folks, you need to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A and if there is any concerns, see your healthcare provider," she said.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease that affects the liver. It develops two to six weeks after exposure. Disease symptoms include: Fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting abdominal pain and yellowing of the skin.

Maricopa County Public Health is offering free hepatitis A vaccines. To learn more, visit wearepublichealth.org.

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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