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State offering hepatitis vaccines today

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The state Department of Health is having a vaccine clinic at the Mid-town Public Health Office, 2400 Wellesley NE (corner of Wellesley and Prospect), in Albuquerque from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in reaction to an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries sold under the Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend sold at Costco stores.

The Health Department is investigating the multi-state outbreak in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. About 30 human infections are being investigated in five states, including two lab-confirmed cases in New Mexico.

Costco has removed the product from its stores.

The Health Department has released the following notice:

The New Mexico Department of Health in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A associated with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries sold at Costco. As of May 31, 2013, approximately 30 human infections are being investigated in 5 states. Two lab-confirmed cases of hepatitis A linked to the frozen berries have been reported in New Mexico. Onset of illness ranges from mid-April 2013 to late May 2013. Costco has removed the product from its stores.

“It is important that all New Mexicans who have purchased this product remove it from their homes and discard it in their trash,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “If you have consumed this specific product in the last 14 days you should contact your health care provider about getting hepatitis A vaccine to prevent illness.”

Persons who have consumed this product in the last 14 days should consider contacting their health care provider about getting a vaccination against hepatitis A. People who have had physician diagnosed hepatitis A or have received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine in the past do not need to receive more vaccine.

 The New Mexico Department of Health will be hosting a vaccine clinic in Albuquerque at the Mid-town Public Health Office 2400 Wellesley NE (corner of Wellesley and Prospect) on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hours of operation will be 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. People who have consumed this product in the last 14 days can come to the clinic for evaluation and vaccination.

 Hepatitis A is a viral illness that attacks the liver. People usually get the disease from consuming a contaminated food item. Early signs of hepatitis A appear two to six weeks after exposure. Symptoms commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, dark urine and jaundice (yellow eyes or skin). Most people recover in a week or so, but sometimes hepatitis A can lead to hospitalization and severe illness. It is very important that if you have symptoms like this you do not go to work, especially if you work in food service, health care or child care.

For further information on hepatitis A visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/a/ or call Nurse Advice New Mexico at 1-877-725-2552 or the New Mexico Department of Health at 505.827.0006.

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