Friday, September 9, 2016

Hepatitis A in Frozen Strawberries Infects 89 People

CDC reported that 89 people contracted Hepatitis A from frozen strawberries.  The outbreak was initially reported two weeks by the Virginia Department of Health.  In most all cases, the infections were linked to the strawberries being served in smoothie drinks served by Tropical Smoothie Café.

Smoothies, the blending of fruits and vegetables into a nutritious yet tasty beverage, can be an issue if any of the fruit and vegetable ingredients harbor pathogenic bacteria.  The risk can be made worse if the smoothie product is temperature abused.  The hard part when buying from a commercial smoothie producer is knowing where they source their ingredients.  In the past, had been an issue pomegranate sourced from the middle east.  That too was a source of Hepatitis A.

CDC Outbreak
August 2016 - Multistate outbreak of hepatitis A linked to frozen strawberries
Posted September 8, 2016 10:15 AM ET

At a Glance
Case Count: 89
States: 7
Deaths: 0
Hospitalizations: 39
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.
  • 89 people with hepatitis A have been reported from seven states: Maryland (10), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (70), West Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (1).
  • 39 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.
  • If you think you’ve gotten sick from drinking a smoothie containing frozen strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café prior to August 8, contact your doctor.
  • Food handlers should contact their doctors and stay home if they are sick with hepatitis A.
  • Hepatitis A is a serious illness that affects the liver. Symptoms include yellow eyes or skin, abdominal pain, or pale stools.
  • Information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Cafes. We are not yet aware of other restaurants that may have received frozen strawberries linked to this outbreak. If this information changes, CDC will update the public immediately.

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