A hepatitis A outbreak in California and four other Western states may be linked to a brand of berries sold at Costco stores, officials said Friday.
At least six of 30 cases of the liver disease were in California — one each in Orange, Riverside, San Diego and Humboldt counties, and two in San Bernardino County.
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 include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice. Symptoms develop two to six weeks after consuming contaminated food or drink, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The potentially severe illness can last up to several months and can require hospitalization.