Almost 30 People in Virginia Caught Hepatitis A from Tropical Smoothie Café Strawberries

On occasions, we see food poisoning outbreaks that seriously sicken and even kill consumers. I am alarmed to read about how hundreds of people have contracted hepatitis from frozen strawberries used in drinks at Tropical Smoothie Cafes.

Recently, WAVY.com reported that more than two dozen people in Virginia have contracted hepatitis A in the outbreak. Lawsuits are already being filed against Tropical Smoothie Café.

The Virginia Department of Health confirmed that the number of total cases rose to 28 by Thursday afternoon. That number was up from 17 original cases on Tuesday, and six additional cases reported Wednesday.

Contaminated strawberries are linked to hepatitus A outbreak

Some cases have been reported locally. Larry Hill, a spokesman from VDH, confirmed this week that there are five cases in the Eastern Region, which includes Hampton Roads. That figure has since risen to eight. Additionally, there are four cases in the Northern Region, four in the Northwestern Region and four in the Central Region of the Commonwealth.

Many people may not yet realize that they have hepatitis A. Lisa Engle, a spokeswoman with Chesapeake Health Department, told WAVY the virus can take 15 to 50 days before symptoms show. The source of the outbreak was frozen strawberries that were imported from Egypt.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A causes inflammation of the liver. It can be serious and even cause death and liver damage in rare cases, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It’s a contagious disease. Symptoms can be mild or last for several months.

Recently, a lawsuit was filed against Tropical Smoothie Café by a woman from Yorktown and a man from Maryland who say they contracted hepatitis A after visiting a Tropical Smoothie Café in Northern Virginia.

The VDH is reported to be working with state and federal partners to find more locations in the state where the product may have been used or distributed.

People who drank smoothies on August 5, 6, 7 or 8 should get a vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A, stated VDH.

I am always extremely concerned when a popular chain food and drink outlet puts its consumers at risk. Hepatitis A is a very serious and potentially life-changing disease. See our recent blog about seven of the worst food poisoning outbreaks in America. If you believe you have been made seriously ill by a food, call our team at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers today at (757) 455-0077.

Bill O'Mara

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