VIRGINIA - If you have consumed a smoothie from a Virginia Tropical Smoothie Cafe that contained frozen strawberries, you may be at risk for hepatitis A.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, people who consumed smoothies with frozen strawberries on August 5, 6, 7 or 8 may benefit from a vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A.
According to a health department official, there have been 10 total cases of hepatitis A linked to the strawberries at Tropical Smoothie in Virginia so far.
Two cases are in the eastern region of Virginia.
The Department of Health has linked the smoothies with a strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily withdrew all of the strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.
The Department of Health says other restaurants and restaurant suppliers may have received the frozen strawberries. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify other locations where the product may have been distributed.
If you have already had hepatitis A or have been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you are immune and not at risk.
Anyone who drank a smoothie after the frozen strawberries were removed from restaurants is not thought to be at risk. However, if you have had a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant within the last 50 days, the Department of Health encourages you to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A.
A classic symptom of hepatitis A is jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin or eyes. Other symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. The virus is spread through direct contact with an infected person or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention and take steps to protect others from the infection by washing your hands frequently with warm soap and water before preparing food.
It is very important for people who have symptoms of hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.