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Fourth Hawaii hepatitis case tied to frozen berry mix

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 1:21 p.m. HST, Jun 7, 2013

A fourth adult in Hawaii has been diagnosed with hepatitis A after eating a frozen organic berry mix that was pulled from Costco shelves May 29.

The state Health Department also is investigating four additional cases of people who got ill after consuming Townsend Farms Antioxidant Blend berry mix.

Additionally, a person on the Big Island has also come down with hepatitis A after eating a Townsend berry product, although it was not the one specifically recalled, said Janice Okubo, health department spokeswoman.  

State officials said of the four Hawaii residents that have been diagnosed with hepatitis A connected to the recalled product, three were on Oahu and one on Kauai. All of the cases involved adults who reported eating the Townsend Farms Antioxidant Blend pulled from store shelves.

The latest case, which the department confirmed this morning, involved an adult who got sick on Oahu.

The residents are recovering or have recovered, the state said. 

Townsend Farms, a fruit distributor in Oregon, recalled its Antioxidant Organic Blend this week after dozens of hepatitis A cases were confirmed in seven states, including Hawaii. 

The mix includes pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey, which the company said might be the source of the virus. The berries were sold in Costco stores in Hawaii and on the West Coast an in Harris Teeter stores, primarily in the Southeast. 

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