Over 75 sickened by infected Oregon berries

A viral outbreak of Hepatitis A spanning eight states has been linked to an Oregon farm, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials with the CDC claim that over 75 people in several states have reported Hepatitis A infections, 11 of whom have been hospitalized, after consuming a frozen pomegranate and berry mix produced at the farm. No deaths have been reported, but officials predict the number of reported infections to rise.

Given the highly contagious nature of Hepatitis A, CDC workers initially expressed concerns that the disease would strongly affect children in the outbreak zone. However, only one child has been reported ill as a result of the outbreak, a fact that officials have credited to widespread vaccinations. The CDC confirmed that the infected child was never vaccinated. Children typically receive two vaccinations for the disease between the ages of six months and one year. Parents who have not vaccinated their children for Hepatitis A are strongly encouraged to visit a medical facility and do so immediately.

The Oregon farm from which the outbreak allegedly originated already faces civil litigation in connection to the disease. One woman who purchased frozen berries produced by the farm and became sick with Hepatitis A has filed a lawsuit against the farm, demanding unspecified damages in compensation for her infection. She is currently recovering in a hospital. The Oregon farm reportedly ordered a mass recall of all potentially infected berries upon hearing news of the outbreak. It is unclear whether any other victims of the outbreak are planning to file civil lawsuits against the farm. If so, attorneys can safely navigate them through the complicated process so that their best interests are served.

Hepatitis A is an infection targeting the liver, typically passed between hosts due to poor sanitation prior to handling food. Common symptoms include nausea, tiredness, jaundice, vomiting, joint and stomach pain, fever and organ failure in severe cases. Some individuals infected with Hepatitis A may never manifest symptoms.

Source:  Online News Heard Now, "Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked To Frozen Berries" No Author Given, Jun. 08, 2013

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