One person in Contra Costa County and one in Alameda County are among 30 people nationwide who have contracted hepatitis A linked to frozen berries sold at Costco stores.
The suspect product is Townsend Farms' Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries. The product, sold at Costco, is a mix of cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries.
Costco has removed the berries from its shelves since the outbreak and is alerting consumers who have bought them since February to throw them out. State health officials urge anyone who has eaten the berries in the last two weeks to contact their doctor.
The 62-year-old east Contra Costa County woman was hospitalized with hepatitis last month and has since recovered, said Contra Costa Health Services spokeswoman Kate Fowlie. The Alameda County resident, whose age and gender have not been released, was also treated and released, according to Sherri Willis, spokeswoman for the Alameda County Public Health Department.
About 880 bags of the berries have been sold in Contra Costa County in the past four weeks, Fowlie said.
The Food and Drug Administration and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 30 illnesses have been linked to the Townsend Farms berries. The illnesses have been reported since the end of April in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can last from a few weeks to several months. People often contract it when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. Food already contaminated with the virus can also cause outbreaks.
Hepatitis A illnesses occur within 15 to 50 days of exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.
Vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure, and those who have already been vaccinated are unlikely to become ill, according to the CDC. Most patients recover completely, but hepatitis A can lead to hospitalization and severe illness, according to the state Department of Public Health.
The government has not announced a recall, but the CDC recommended that retailers and other food service operators should not sell or serve Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend.
Bill Gaar, a lawyer for Townsend Farms, said the company believes Costco is the only customer who bought the product, though they are checking to see if any other retailers may have sold it.
Bay City News Service and Associated Press contributed to this report.