Smoothie lovers, step away from the frozen strawberries. A recent bout of Hepatitis A infections has been linked to a Virginia-based smoothie chain utilizing the frosty fruit. Over 50 residents in five different states have been infected after consuming drinks from Tropical Smoothie Café locations, and the outbreak has been connected to the frozen strawberries from Egypt used at a number of the shops.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 Virginia residents as well as visitors from Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, and Wisconsin have already fallen ill, and more are possibly yet to be confirmed. "While Tropical Smoothie Café has removed the frozen strawberries from their restaurants and switched to another supplier, we may still see more illnesses due to the long incubation period for Hepatitis A before people start experiencing symptoms," warns a spokesperson from the CDC.
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The symptoms of Hepatitis A—which may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fever, and more—typically take 15 to 50 days to become apparent, making outbreaks of the virus harder to identify. After the potential outbreak was discovered in early August, Virginia officials alerted the smoothie café of the concern, but didn't make the issue public until two weeks later following their investigation.