The Virginia Department of Health has Confirmed 59 cases of hepatitis A connected to frozen strawberries used at Tropical Smoothie Cafes across Virginia.
Every few months there is an alert about a foodborne illness from a restaurant or grocery store in the news. According to Virginia health officials, several recent cases of hepatitis A may have been caused by frozen strawberries from the restaurant chain Tropical Smoothie Café. The Virginia Health Department (VHD) is testing frozen strawberries from Egypt used at the popular chain and say that consumers who had smoothies containing strawberries from Tropical Smoothie Café on August 5 through 8th may be at risk.
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a viral disease that affects the liver. The virus can be transmitted through eating contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person. The disease is most often associated with inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene.
There are 96 Tropical Smoothie Café locations throughout Virginia, according to the chain’s website. Their website has a complete list of stores that may have sold contaminated smoothies. The CEO has said that they stopped using strawberries from Egypt at all of its stores, including those outside Virginia, after learning about the potential issue.
Helping You Stay Healthy
Symptoms for hepatitis A can range from very mild to severe, and can include: jaundice, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine or light-colored stools. Not everyone infected will have all of these symptoms. While most people will have mild or no symptoms, the elderly, and those with many chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems may need to be evaluated sooner by a physician.
Hepatitis A needs to be diagnosed by a specific blood test. The incubation period is 14-28 days. Recovery may take several weeks to several months and therapy is aimed at keeping the patient comfortable. Eating a balanced diet and replacing fluids lost from vomiting or diarrhea are important tips to know. Also, avoid acetaminophen and other medications that are metabolized by the liver.
Most people recover fully from hepatitis A. It rarely causes chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal. The vaccine is available to anyone and is recommended for children, world travelers, and for people at high risk of infection.
What If You Think You Have Hepatitis A?
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health) Hepatitis A typically gets better in just a few weeks without treatment. Some people can have symptoms for up to 6 months, so your doctor may suggest medicines to help relieve your symptoms. Before taking any over the counter medicines you should always consult a doctor.
iBecca Mitchell, News3 WTKR, http://wtkr.com/2016/09/01/list-of-virginia-hepatitis-a-cases-linked-to-tropical-smoothie-grows-to-59/
ii“National Institute of Health” https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/liver-disease/hepatitis-a/Pages/ez.aspx