Frozen berry mix used in Steamboat restaurant linked to hepatitis A outbreak

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— A recalled frozen berry mix sold at Costco was used in smoothies sold in Steamboat Springs from May 24 to June 8, according to a news release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“The recalled Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry mix product has been identified as the source of an outbreak of hepatitis A infections in the western United States, with at least 118 cases identified so far,” state epidemiologist Lisa Miller said in the release.

The Organic Antioxidant Blend berry mix from Townsend Farms was used in a Berry Blast smoothie at Sweet Pea Market and Restaurant on Yampa Street.

Sweet Pea owner Katherine Zambrana said Costco called her and told her about the recall.

“Before that, I had taken it off my smoothie list,” she said, adding that it wasn’t what she was looking for.

The release states that there have been no confirmed cases of hepatitis A from smoothies served at Sweet Pea or a smoothie delivery service in Boulder that also used the berry mix.

Anyone who might have been exposed to hepatitis A should watch for symptoms, which generally begin 28 days after exposure.

According to the release, symptoms include fatigue, stomach pain, jaundice, dark urine and clay-colored stool.

“Hepatitis A is a liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.”

A vaccination might prevent illness for anyone who was exposed within the past 14 days. Vaccinations can be obtained from a personal health care provider or the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association in Steamboat Springs.

The VNA is holding a walk-in vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at its office at 940 Central Park Drive, Suite 101. The VNA can bill health insurance for vaccinations. For those who are uninsured, the highest cost of the vaccine would be $21.50, but that cost can be reduced on a sliding scale based on income.

The VNA can be reached at 970-879-1632. More information also is available from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment by calling COHelp at 1-877-462-2911 or 303-389-1687.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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