Foodborne Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Imported Frozen Strawberries

frozen strawberries_TS_492447483
frozen strawberries_TS_492447483
The frozen berries were imported from Egypt and have been removed from restaurants in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

A multistate outbreak of foodborne Hepatitis A has been linked to frozen strawberries imported from Egypt, according to reports from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

In addition to the 55 cases reported in Virginia, 15 additional cases have been reported in Maryland (6 cases), West Virginia (5 cases), and New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Wisconsin (1 case each); 32 hospitalizations have been reported.

Interviews conducted by the CDC show that 97% (n=68) of those involved in the outbreak reported drinking a smoothie in the month prior to showing hepatitis A symptoms. Of the 54 persons interviewed about the type of smoothie, 100% reported that the smoothie contained frozen strawberries.

The VDH has noted that patrons of Tropical Smoothie Café locations who consumed smoothies made with the frozen strawberries may still benefit from a hepatitis A vaccination or immune globulin administered within 2 weeks of exposure. All patrons who consumed smoothies within the past 50 days should continue to self-monitor for hepatitis A symptoms.

CDC reports indicate that, based on current evidence, there is no ongoing risk of hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Café locations.

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  1. August 2016 – Multistate outbreak of hepatitis A linked to frozen strawberries [news release]. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; August 31, 2016. Accessed September 6, 2016.
  2. Health officials warn of increased risk [news release]. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Health; August 19, 2016. Accessed September 6, 2016.