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San Diego County officials are advising residents to discard some recently purchased Woodstock brand frozen organic pomegranate kernels as well as Townsend Farms organic antioxidant berries, as the products have been linked to a hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened 15 San Diegans, and over 120 people nationwide.

“If you ate a product containing these pomegranate seeds in the past two weeks and you have never been vaccinated for hepatitis A or had the disease, you should contact your health care provider to discuss hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin,” says County public health officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H.

According to the County website:

Signs of hepatitis A appear two to seven 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). It is important if you have these symptoms that you seek medical attention and do not work in food service, health care or child care until you are no longer infectious.

Hepatitis A varies in severity, with mild cases lasting two weeks or less and more severe cases lasting four to six weeks or longer. The disease can be severe and result in hospitalization. Some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice and may have mild illness. Even people with mild symptoms should consult a health care provider. Those who do not have a provider should call 2-1-1San Diego to locate available clinics in their communities.

Experts say the risk of contracting hepatitis from the products is generally low, though the exercise of caution is still advised.

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