In an update on the hepatitis A outbreak in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) as of today puts the case tally at 35 Virginia residents who had tested positive for hepatitis A reported consuming a smoothie at Tropical Smoothie Café prior to becoming ill.
Approximately 55% of the residents, for whom information is available, have been hospitalized for their illness. The 35 ill residents range in age from 15-68. Onsets of illness for the 35 cases range from early May through mid-August.
On August 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified VDH that genetic testing of multiple ill persons showed the illnesses were caused by a strain of hepatitis A that had been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt.
Frozen Egyptian strawberries used at Tropical Smoothie Café are thought to be the source of this outbreak. This product has been removed from use at all Tropical Smoothie locations in Virginia.
In addition, health officials report an employee at the Tropical Smoothie Café Restaurant at 8069 Stonewall Shops Square in Gainesville, Virginia, has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. As a result, persons eating at this restaurant from July 28, 2016 through August 18, 2016 may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
Individuals who have not been previously vaccinated for hepatitis A, nor had the disease in the past, are susceptible to infection. Susceptible individuals who ate or drank anything from the Tropical Smoothie Café in Gainesville on August 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 or 18 may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A if received within two weeks of the date of exposure. Susceptible individuals who ate or drank anything at the restaurant on those dates should contact their health care providers, or may contact the Prince William Health District information line at 703-792-6345. Vaccine is available at various urgent care clinics and pharmacies in the community and at the Prince William Health District.
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