A popular tropical smoothie chain has been blamed for sickening dozens of people with hepatitis A.
Dozens of people have fallen hill after a huge hepatitis A outbreak has swept through seven states, and authorities think that frozen strawberries may be to blame. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 89 people sick in seven states, with 39 of them requiring hospitalization. No deaths have been reported yet.
Authorities linked the outbreak Sept. 1 to smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafes in Virginia and neighboring states. One case reported all the way out in Oregon happened when the person visited Virginia and had a smoothie from the cafe.
The strawberries in question were believed to have been imported from Egypt. Tropical Smoothi Cafe on Aug. 8 removed those strawberries form its Maryland, Virginia< North Carolina and West Virginia locations, and switched to a different supplier.
Most of the cases happened in Virginia, where 70 people came down with an illness.
Fortunately, health officials think the outbreak has ended, but additional cases are possible.
“Information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Cafes,” the CDC statement reads. “We are not yet aware of any other restaurants or retailers that may have received frozen strawberries linked to this outbreak. If this information changes, CDC will update the public immediately. Contact your doctor if you think you may have become ill from eating a smoothie containing strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café prior to August 8, 2016 in the following states: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina. It is important that food handlers and restaurant employees contact their doctor and stay home if they are infected with hepatitis A. This helps prevent the virus from spreading. Not everyone will experience symptoms from a hepatitis A virus infection. Some people may experience mild flu-like symptoms.”