August 22, 2016 — At least 10 cases of hepatitis A have been linked to strawberries that were imported from Egypt and sold at Tropical Smoothies Cafés in Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Health said anyone who had a smoothie between August 5 and August 8 should contact the health department. According to the health warning:
“Anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant within the last 50 days is encouraged to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A.”
Health officials said genetic testing revealed that the illnesses were caused by the same strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks from frozen strawberries imported from Egypt.
In 2013, over 100 people in Europe were sickened in two outbreaks of hepatitis A linked to frozen strawberries from Egypt and Morocco.
Tropical Smoothies immediately withdraw all strawberries sourced from Egypt and switched to another supplier.
It can take 2-6 weeks before symptoms of hepatitis A appear. If the vaccine or immune globulin (IG) is given within two weeks of exposure, it can protect against infection. People who are vaccinated or have already had hepatitis A should be immune from re-infection.
Hepatitis A is a virus that spreads in human feces, often in contaminated food or water. The infection lasts for months and causes liver inflammation, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools.
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