Some Evo's Coffee Lounge customers may have been exposed to hepatitis A

Evo's Coffee Lounge customers who consumed a "Radically Free" smoothie from the Ashland coffeehouse between May 17 and June 12 of this year may have been exposed to hepatitis A, Jackson County Health Department officials reported.

A news release from the department said the drink may have contained the Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry mix, produced by Oregon-based Townsend Farms and sold at numerous Costco warehouses in several western states. The frozen fruit mix has since been recalled by the company.

"This product has been identified as the source of an outbreak of hepatitis A infections in the western United States, with at least 99 victims identified to date," said Dr. Ann Thomas, Oregon Public Health Division medical epidemiologist.

No other items at Evo's contained the Organic Antioxidant Blend, public health officials said.

"Townsend Farms is implementing this voluntary recall after learning that one of the ingredients of the frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend, pomegranate seeds processed in Turkey, may be linked to an illness outbreak outside of the United States," a release on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states.

The release said hepatitis A is a liver disease that generally presents symptoms 28 days after exposure. Symptoms can present anywhere between 15 and 50 days after exposure, however. They include fatigue, adbominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool. In some cases, liver failure can present in people who have a pre-existing severe illness or have compromised immune systems.

Those who did consume the drink should check their vaccination status or contact their health care provider. Those who have not been vaccinated must be given the vaccine within 14 days of exposure to be protected.

The hepatitis A vaccine will be available at the Jackson County Health Department, 1005 E. Main St., starting today. The department is open 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays. Vaccinations may also be available at area pharmacies.

— Ryan Pfeil

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