Following up on the hepatitis A outbreak, involving frozen berries purchased at Costco and other carriers of the Harris Teeter product brand, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that the number of states in which illnesses have been reported has risen to eight including Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington, the Associated Press reported.

A week after Townsend Farms located in Fairview, Ore. recalled its Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries, the CDC said the number of people infected has risen to 87.

According to the CDC's data, around 66 percent of people who have fallen ill are women. Out of 87 reported cases, 36 have been hospitalized and there have been no known deaths. In all 87 cases, patients verified purchasing the frozen berries from Costco.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus usually spreads through the ingestion of food and drink contaminated by the fecal matter of an infected person. Illness can occur anywhere from 15 to 50 days after exposure. Symptoms of hepatitis A include diarrhea, jaundice, fever, nausea, and loss of appetite, among other things. In people with pre-existing illnesses or compromised immune systems, hepatitis A can cause death. Otherwise, the illness can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Although rare in the U.S., hepatitis A is endemic to countries and areas with unsafe water supplies.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests that you see your doctor if you experience symptoms or think that you may have been exposed to the virus. People who have eaten or handled the frozen berry blend are at highest risk of contamination from the current hepatitis A outbreak. Those with underlying liver conditions should strongly consider getting vaccinated.

Costco's director of food safety, Craig Wilson, announced that the store will be offering vaccinations free of charge to anyone who purchased the Townsend Farms product and will reimburse anyone who has already received one.