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FDA, CDC Join State and Local Health Officials in Investigation of Hepatitis A Outbreak

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 2-Sep-2016

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

As I have been reporting for the past several days, the ongoing investigation into the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Hepatitis A outbreak continues to grow and has now been reported in seven states:

  • Virginia (59 cases)
  • Maryland (6 cases)
  • West Virginia (5 cases)
  • North Carolina (1 case)
  • New York (1 case)
  • Oregon (1 case)
  • Wisconsin (1 case)

In addition to investigations by multiple states' health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now involved in efforts to trace the source and distribution of the strawberries.

According to the FDA report, there have been 70 reports of Hepatitis A linked to this outbreak since August 31, 2016. Among the 70 victims, 68 reported drinking a smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Café within the past 30 days. Out of 54 victims who were interviewed as to what type of smoothie they drank, all reported that the smoothie contained strawberries. Thirty-two victims have been hospitalized.

All of the victims have reported to drinking the smoothies within a limited geographical area (in Virginia or a surrounding state). The victim in Oregon confirmed that they had consumed a smoothie containing strawberries in Virginia while traveling.

The FDA has confirmed that the contaminated strawberries used at the Tropical Smoothie Café locations were imported from Egypt. The establishment has reported that they ceased use of these berries by August 8, 2016 in their Virginia locations and locations in neighboring states. By August 19, 2016, they reported that they removed all Egyptian frozen strawberries from all of their locations nationwide.

The FDA has been in touch with the Egyptian International Health Regulations National Focal Point to discuss the ongoing investigation and is continuing to work to identify other issues with the supply chain. They have initiated increased surveillance of all imported strawberries and will provide further information when it becomes available.

If you believe your illness may have been caused by consuming a smoothie with strawberries from Tropical Smoothie Cafe before August 8, 2016, contact your doctor. Hepatitis A symptoms range from mild flu-like symptoms to yellow eyes, abdominal pain, pale stools, and dark urine. Hepatitis A is highly contagious with an incubation period of 15 to 50 days.

I will continue to follow the ongoing investigations and update readers with new developments as they occur. 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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