Hepatitis A outbreak in Virginia caused by strawberries from Egypt


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There are now ten confirmed cases of Hepatitis A, as a result of people consuming smoothies in Virginia.

The smoothie chain Tropical Smoothie is now pulling all Egypt-sourced strawberries from freezer shelves.

Tropical Smoothie customers on Friday responded after news of a Hepatitis A scare at Virginia locations.

“I’m glad I didn’t buy any smoothies on August 5, 6, 7 or 8,” Tropical Smoothie customer Sarai Israel told 8News.

Those are the dates the Department of Health is warning consumers about.

If you drank a smoothie with frozen strawberries between the 5th and the 8th health officials say there’s still time to get a vaccine to prevent the disease.

The chain said its cafes and their food handling practices have not been implicated, but as an extra precaution it has pulled all Egypt-sourced strawberries from every location in its system.

“The other thing that concerns me is that it’s not just Tropical Smoothie that has these strawberries ... So that is of concern,” customer Tanya Garrett said.

The Health Department confirms it is looking into whether other restaurants and food suppliers may also have concerns.

It’s looking into whether other restaurants and food suppliers may also have gotten the frozen berries from Egypt.

Hepatitis A inflames the liver causing jaundice, fever and vomiting.

“I frequent some different places, so that would suck,” Garrett said.

Symptoms develop between 15 and 50 days after exposure to the virus. This happens through direct contact or food and drink consumption.

If you have any questions concerning the investigation, contact your local Health Department.

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