Frozen strawberries are at the center of a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A.
Health officials in Virginia, where the outbreak started, confirmed the link on Friday. So far 55 people across six states have been infected, according to CNN, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects that number to rise.
“Due to the relatively long incubation period for hepatitis A—15 to 50 days—before people start experiencing symptoms, we expect to see more ill people reported in this outbreak,” a CDC spokesperson told CNN.
In Virginia, 44 people alone have been infected. About half of those people have been hospitalized.
Many patients said they bought smoothies at cafes in Virginia and neighboring states, after which point authorities could trace the outbreak back to frozen strawberries that were imported from Egypt.
One chain, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, announced that it has removed and replaced the imported strawberries after the Virginia Department of Health alerted the smoothie chain to the issue.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral liver infection, but it’s rarely fatal and doesn’t cause chronic liver disease. Once patients recover—it can take a few months to feel better, the CDC said—they are protected from future infections.
Video on this topic
Deadly hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego linked to homeless; could it happen here?
Downtown Honolulu has the highest population of homeless in Hawaii with 639 homeless in the area.
Health Officials Declare Hepatitis A Outbreak In L.A. County | Los Angeles Times
A common way for the virus to be transmitted is when an infected person uses the bathroom and doesn't wash their hands, experts say. (Sept. 19, 2017) (Sign up ...
Hepatitis A outbreak in SoCal raises concerns in Sacramento
After outbreaks in San Diego and Los Angeles Counties, county officials are taking preventative measures, aiming to stop a potential outbreak in the greater ...
Hepatitis A outbreak: Vaccinations given to homeless, shelter workers
LA health officials announced a Hepatitis A outbreak with 10 cases here in Los angels. The most vulnerable? The homeless and those who work with them.
Hepatitis A Outbreak Among San Diego's Homeless and Drug User Populations
San Diego Bleaches Streets to Combat Hepatitis A Outbreak
San Diego started spraying downtown streets with bleach water Sept. 11 to combat a deadly outbreak of hepatitis A.
Infectious Diseases A-Z: Hepatitis A outbreak
Outbreaks of the highly contagious hepatitis A virus have public health officials concerned. An outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego led public health officials to ...
Hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego county worsens
The Hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego County has gotten so bad, the County's public health officer has now recommended that even people who handle food ...