Strawberries On The East Coast Are Causing Hepatitis A Outbreaks

Article originally published on eHealthWire.
September 1st 2016

If you’re traveling to the east coast anytime soon, it’d probably be in your best interest to avoid eating strawberries or buying any strawberry smoothies when you’re out.

On Friday, August 26, health officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that frozen strawberries imported to Virginia from Egypt have caused an outbreak of Hepatitis A.

55 people across six states have been infected. Of these 55, 44 are from Virginia and half of them have been hospitalized to receive treatment. Officials expect these numbers to continue increasing as time passes.

The Hepatitis A virus has a relatively long incubation period, ranging anywhere from 15 to 50 days, so people will have a delayed start to their symptoms.

Many of these patients reported that they consumed strawberry smoothies from various cafes in Virginia and neighboring states.

One café chain, Tropical Smoothie Café, has responded to the outbreak by announcing it would remove and replace all the strawberries they had imported to avoid infecting more customers.

While Hepatitis A is a very contagious virus that infects the liver, it’s rarely severe enough to be fatal or cause permanent damage. The recovery time is quite lengthy, but once patients have been infected once, they’ll never have to worry about another infection in the future.

For now, it’s perhaps best to just avoid purchasing any strawberry products outside until the CDC provides further updates on the situation.