Several states, CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are continuing to investigate a multistate outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A. Information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of acquiring hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Café’s, as the contaminated food product has been removed as of August 8. Symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection can take up to 50 days to appear. As a result, CDC continues to identify cases of hepatitis A related to the initial contaminated product. As of September 29, 2016:
132 people with hepatitis A have been reported from eight states: Arkansas (1), Maryland (12), New York (3), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (106), West Virginia (7), and Wisconsin (1).
52 ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate frozen strawberries imported from Egypt are the likely source of this outbreak.
In interviews, nearly all ill people interviewed reported drinking smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Café locations prior to August 8 in a limited geographical area, including Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
On August 8, 2016, Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they removed the Egyptian frozen strawberries from their restaurants in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and switched to another supplier. Out of an abundance of caution, Tropical Smoothie Café has since switched to another supplier for all restaurants nationwide.
Republished with permission from Bill Marler and Marler Clark. Copyright (c) Marler Clark LLP, PS. All rights reserved.