Tropical Smoothie Cafe customers in VA face hepatitis A risk

Tropical Smoothie Cafe customers in VA face hepatitis A risk

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you recently had a smoothie with frozen strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia, you could be at an increased risk for hepatitis A according to the state health department.

The Virginia Department of Health says 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. If illness occurs, seek medical care and take steps to protect others from the infection.

Those symptoms include jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes, as well as fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. If you have these symptoms, VDH says to stay home from work, especially if you work in food service.

It can take 15 to 50 days to develop symptoms after exposure to the virus. The virus can spread through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

The alert specifically says people who had a smoothie with frozen strawberries on August 5, 6, 7 or 8, may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A. Anyone who consumed a smoothie after the frozen strawberries were removed from restaurants is not thought to be at risk for hepatitis A.

Strawberries imported from Egypt used at other restaurants, and firms that supply restaurants, are still under investigation by VDH.

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