The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has issued a warning of increased Hepatitis A risk following a cluster of cases potentially linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants, with frozen Egyptian strawberries indicated as a possible cause.
Last week, the VDH reported genetic testing showed illnesses were caused by a Hep A strain associated with past outbreaks due to frozen Egyptian strawberries.
"Upon learning of the potential link to strawberries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe immediately conducted a voluntary product withdrawal of all strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply," the VDH said.
"Other restaurants, and firms that supply restaurants, may also have received the frozen strawberries imported from Egypt.
"VDH continues to investigate cases and work with state and federal partners, including the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to identify additional locations where the product may have been distributed."
The department said anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a Virginia restaurant within the last 50 days was encouraged to watch for symptoms.