RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — News broke Friday about a hepatitis A scare caused by contaminated strawberries imported from Egypt. At least ten people in Virginia were infected as a result of eating infected smoothies at the chain Tropical Smoothie Cafe, causing much concern.
John Holland was one of the concerned customers.
“I was [concerned] because I eat at tropical smoothie from time to time, and the drink that I normally get has strawberries in it. So, yes, I was concerned,” Holland said.
“The thing about hepatitis-A is that it tends to change the color of things, like your skin can turn yellow. Your eyes can turn yellow, your urine can become dark and your stool can become light.” — Dr. Diane Woolard, Virginia Department of Health
Representatives from Tropical Smoothie Cafe told 8News that they source ingredients from all over the world in order to ensure volume and quality. They said they do this to make sure the ingredients are grown while they are in season.
In light of what has happened with the Egyptian strawberries, the chain is no longer sourcing strawberries from Egypt, opting instead for Mexican and Californian alternatives.
Infected people may get a fever or have an upset stomach.
Dr. Diane Woolard with the Virginia Department of Health told 8News that you should watch out for these symptoms if you had smoothie with frozen strawberries between August 5th and 8th.
“The thing about hepatitis-A is that it tends to change the color of things, like your skin can turn yellow. Your eyes can turn yellow, your urine can become dark and your stool can become light,” Woolard said.
Woolard said the best way to prevent the spread of hepatitis-A is to maintain good hygiene and always wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before preparing food.
The good news is that the hepatitis-A vaccine has been used for about the last decade, so most kids should already be immune.
Also, if you do contract hepatitis-A, you’ll just have to let the virus run its course, but it is not a disease that will stay with you like some others.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.