Our law firm is conducting a lawsuit investigation involving a hepatitis A outbreak linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in Virginia and other states. “Genetic testing shows the illnesses were caused by a strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt,” according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Hepatitis A Virus

Urgent Information Regarding Hepatitis A Vaccine and Immune Globulin

People who consumed a smoothie from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia that contained frozen strawberries, on August 5, 6, 7 or 8, 2016, may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A. This is because a vaccine or immune globulin administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A virus is effective at preventing the disease.  Contact your medical provider immediately if you are in this group of people who can benefit from these preventative measures.

Anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant within the last 50 days is encouraged to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A:

  • jaundice, a yellowing of the skin or the eyes;
  • fever;
  • fatigue;
  • loss of appetite;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • abdominal pain;
  • dark urine;
  • light-colored stools.

The incubation period for hepatitis A is 15-50 days after eating food contaminated with this virus. Transmission can  also occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection. If you or someone in your family has one or more of these symptoms, contact your doctor and take steps to protect others from the infection.

If you have had hepatitis A or have been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you are already immune and therefore not at risk for getting the disease.

Frozen Strawberries from Egypt Possible Source of Outbreak

The investigation points to frozen strawberries imported from Egypt as the possible source of the outbreak. “Upon learning of the potential link to strawberries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe immediately conducted a voluntary product withdrawal of all strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply,” according to VDH.

Other restaurants, and firms that supply restaurants, may also have received contaminated frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. VDH, the FDA and CDC are working together to find other locations in Virginia and other states where the Egyptian strawberries may have been used.

Hepatitis A Lawsuit

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.  The illness may drag on for months, and 10%–15% of people sickened have prolonged or relapsing disease for up to 6 months. Complications include liver damage, including liver failure. It can be fatal.

Depending on the facts of the case, a lawsuit may seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.