Lawsuits filed as hepatitis A cases linked to Tropical Smoothie rise

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WAVY News Staff – HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Officials with the Virginia Department of Health confirmed that more than a dozen people in the state have contracted hepatitis A from frozen strawberries used at Tropical Smoothie Cafes.

The number of total cases had risen to 28 by Thursday afternoon. That number was up from 17 original cases on Tuesday, and six additional cases reported Wednesday.

Larry Hill with the VDH said Tuesday that there are five cases in the Eastern Region, which includes Hampton Roads. Four in the Northern Region, four in the Northwestern Region and four in the Central Region.

With more confirmed cases since then, the number of people with cases of hepatitis A in the Easter Region has risen to eight.

"The hepatitis A virus can take anywhere from 15 days to 50 before symptoms show. So yes, that's almost two months you're looking at. That's why we are seeing more cases now," says Lisa Engle with the Chesapeake Health Department.

A lawsuit has now been filed on behalf of a Yorktown woman and a man from Maryland who visited a Tropical Smoothie in Northern Virginia. A Class Action lawsuit is also pending for all victims of the outbreak.

The VDH warned the public that Tropical Smoothie Cafes in the Commonwealthused frozen strawberries that contained hepatitis A last week. The frozen strawberries were imported from Egypt.

The VDH is working with state and federal partners to identify additional locations where the product may have been used or distributed.

Those who consumed a smoothies on August 5, 6, 7 or 8 should get a vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A.