The Hepatitis A outbreak associated with Tropical Smoothie Cafes in Virginia has grown to include at least 105 people. The Virginia Department of Health updates its numbers every day. As of September 28, 2016, there are 105 people in Virginia who are sick in this outbreak.

Hepatitis A Virus
This virus enters an organism by ingestion of water and food contaminated by human feces and reaches the liver through the bloodstream.

The latest numbers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, last updated on September 16, 2016, are Arkansas (1), Maryland (12), New York (3), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), West Virginia (6), and Wisconsin (1). That means there are at least 130 people sickened in this outbreak.

About 35% of those sickened have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so serious. That is a much higher rate than the 20% hospitalization rate typical for a hepatitis A outbreak.

Our food safety lawyers are representing those sickened in this outbreak. If you consumed smoothies made with frozen strawberries from Tropical Smoothie locations this spring and summer and have been sickened with hepatitis A, you can contact them for a free consultation.

Although this outbreak appears to be slowing down, it may still grow for two reasons. One is that the incubation period for hepatitis A infections can be as long as 50 days, which means people may still start showing symptoms as late as early October. And those who are sick with this infection can easily pass the virus on to others, especially since they are infectious for two weeks before symptoms even appear. Those secondary infections may continue for weeks.

The Investigation

The FDA is working with authorities in Egypt to discover how the strawberries were contaminated with this virus. The CDC does not think that any other restaurants received contaminated strawberries.

The outbreak has been traced back to frozen strawberries that were imported from Egypt. Tropical Smoothie restaurants in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina served those strawberries in smoothies. The virus in this current outbreak matches illnesses caused by Egyptian strawberries in the past. The berries were removed from the restaurants on August 8, 2016, and switched to another supplier for all of the restaurants in their chain.

Our law firm has been contacted by people sickened in this outbreak. We are investigating. This illness can be very serious, especially for those who are elderly, who have compromised immune systems, and for those who have liver disease. Even healthy people can take months to recover.

The symptoms of Hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, dark urine, and clay-colored stools. Symptoms usually begin 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus, which means that primary infections may still be diagnosed until early October 2016.

Hepatitis A Lawsuit

If you have consumed a smoothie from a restaurant in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, or North Carolina since May 2016 and have experienced the symptoms of hepatitis A, please see your doctor. Then contact our attorneys for help.

A lawsuit may seek compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering, lost wages, and other damages. Contact our attorneys now to protect your legal rights.