The hepatitis A virus continues to spread in the country with seven states already infected — Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
Costco already announced recalls of the contaminated product Organic Antioxidant Blend Frozen Berry and Pomegranate Mix, but since this contagious virus usually manifests two to four weeks after exposure, the manufacturer and medical society is expecting more cases.
John Ward, director of the hepatitis program at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told USA Today he gives credit to the routine hepatitis A vaccination that started 2006 for sparing the children from the outbreak. “The very, very small number of children involved in this outbreak probably reflects the high vaccination coverage as the result of the routine immunization.”
The two-year old child who became infected by the virus did not receive any vaccination which left him vulnerable. CDC suggests vaccination for all children 12 through 23 months of age especially if they are traveling overseas where the virus is high such as Central or South America, Mexico, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
The vaccination is usually covered by insurance, but for the non-insured the price can range from $60 to $70 for two doses, according to Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health in Iowa.
According to WHO, about 1.4 million cases of this virus is reported each year associated with poor sanitation and lack of safe water. Ninety percent of the cases occur in children below 10 years old.