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CDC Now Leading Investigation of Hepatitis A Outbreak from Frozen Strawberries Used in Smoothies

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 1-Sep-2016

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Posted by Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner.

As the recent Hepatitis A outbreak from frozen strawberries used by Tropical Smoothie Cafe has continued to spread, 69 victims are now confirmed in six states. Although the majority of infected patients are from Virginia, other states now included are Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has taken the lead in the ongoing national investigation, but has not updated the website information as of today.

The West Virginia Department of Health announced the investigation of seven new cases of hepatitis A, three of which are linked to the outbreak. According to the State Health Officer and Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health, although the Hepatitis A risk linked to the frozen strawberries is not ongoing, there is still a risk of transmission of the virus from person to person.

In Virginia, as of August 31, 2016, fifty-five residents have tested positive for Hepatitis A after consumption of smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The frozen imported strawberries have since been removed from all of their restaurants.

According to The Virginia Department of Health (VDH), vaccinations have been effective to combat Hepatitis A over the past 10 years. While the vaccine is available to anyone, it is strongly recommended for travelers to certain countries, those with compromised immune systems, and all children. The vaccine is available through healthcare providers, including some travel clinics and pharmacies.

The 55 confirmed Virginia cases range from early May through August. However, with an incubation period of 15-50 days, the two-week range for effectiveness of the vaccination may be limited for many potential residents.

I will continue to follow this ongoing story and update readers with new developments in the CDC investigations as I learn about them. For earlier posts about the Hepatitis A outbreak, please read my posts from August 22, 2016, when the initial Virginia public health announcement was made, and August 31, 2016, when confirmation by the CDC was made that the outbreak had spread to multiple states.

My firm has filed class-action lawsuits and complaints on behalf of injured people related to this outbreak. If you have questions about this litigation, please contact me.

Do you have any questions about this post? If so, please email Mr. Zambri: szambri@reganfirm.com.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is the author of a widely renowned book on product liability litigation. His experience and knowledge regarding personal injury is often sought by other lawyers and he regularly speaks at seminars regarding personal injury litigation. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2016 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2016) - national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.

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