March 23, 2017

Second Largest Foodborne Illness Outbreak of 2016: Hepatitis A in Strawberries

The second largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2016 was the hepatitis A outbreak linked to imported frozen strawberries served at Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in the eastern United States. At least 143 people in 9 states were sickened in this outbreak. And 56 of those patients were hospitalized. Reports of hepatitis A illnesses starting coming in to the Virginia Health Department. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate that frozen strawberries imported from Egypt were the likely source of this outbreak. In interviewed, almost all of those sickened said they drank smoothies made with strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations before August 8, 2016 in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. There are fourteen cases with no connection to … [Read more...]

Strawberry Hepatitis A Outbreak Investigation Ends

The hepatitis A outbreak linked to strawberries imported from Egypt and sold at Tropical Smoothie Café restaurants in the eastern United States is over, according to the CDC. As of December 16, 2016, 143 people were sickened in 9 states in this outbreak. Fifty-six people were hospitalized because their illnesses were so serious, and no one died. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence found that frozen strawberries imported by the International Company for Agricultural Products & Processing (ICAPP) from Egypt were the likely source of this outbreak. Strawberries imported into the United States since January 1, 2016 were recalled by ICAAP on October 30, 2016. The FDA did find the hepatitis A virus in multiple samples of ICAPP frozen strawberries. The berries were distributed … [Read more...]

Five States List Facilities that Received Hepatitis A Strawberries

Five states have posted notices, either on their Facebook pages or on their state web sites, about the facilities that may have received frozen strawberries imported from Egypt that are associated with a hepatitis A outbreak. At least 134 people in 9 states have been diagnosed with the viral illness since the summer of 2016. Most of those patients ate smoothies made with the frozen strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Officials from Wyoming, Texas, California, Michigan, and Colorado have posted public health alerts about this issue. No hepatitis A illnesses have been linked to the berries sold in these locations, or in any other locations other than the original outbreak area, but the illness can take up to 50 … [Read more...]

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Grows by One New Case

The hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii linked to imported raw scallops served at Genki Sushi locations has increased by one. As of November 2, 2016, 292 people have been sickened in this outbreak. Seventy-four patients, or 25%, have been hospitalized. Eleven of the patients are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui. Seven visitors have returned to the mainland or overseas. All of the remaining patients live on the island of Oahu. The maximum 50-day incubation period for this outbreak has passed, since the suspect food was embargoed on August 15, 2016. The scallops at the center of this outbreak were Sea Port Bay Scallops from the Philippines served raw at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. Public health investigators found the hepatitis A virus in that … [Read more...]

Hepatitis A Strawberries Distributed to Schools and Restaurants

In an unexpected announcement, the FDA says that the recalled frozen strawberries imported from Egypt that are linked to a hepatitis A outbreak in the eastern United States were sold to schools and institutions across the country. In the official outbreak linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe products, five of the 134 people sickened did not consume those products. The FDA says that frozen strawberry products recalled by The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP) may have been served in food service operations as recently as October 27, 2016. The products were "included but not limited to" whole, sliced, and sugared strawberries and diced strawberries. The five companies that received frozen strawberry products from ICAPP are: C.H. Belt of Lake … [Read more...]

ICAPP Recalls Frozen Strawberries for Hepatitis A

The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP) is voluntarily recalling all frozen strawberries imported since the beginning of 2016 in response to an FDA investigation of a hepatitis A outbreak. This is the outbreak that sickened more than 100 people this summer that is linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in the eastern United States. These strawberries were distributed to food service establishments nationwide. They were not in food products offered at retail to consumers. But this news release is being issued to help reduce possible risk to public health. None of ICAPP's own testing has found hepatitis A in any of its products with its own third party testing, but they are recalling all frozen strawberries imported into the U.S. since … [Read more...]

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Stops Growing

The hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii that has sickened hundreds of people has stopped growing, according to a new post by the Hawaii state Department of Health. From October 6 to October 19, 2016, three new cases were identified. In the last week, no new cases were identified. Illness onset dates have ranged from 6/12/16 - 10/9/16. In total, 291 people were sickened in this outbreak. Seventy-three of them, or 25%, had to be hospitalized because they were so sick. The typical hospitalization rate in a hepatitis A outbreak is about 20%, so the number of people hospitalized in this outbreak is slightly higher than average. The 50 day maximum incubation period from the time the outbreak cause was identified has passed, so no new primary onset cases should be reported. Officials … [Read more...]

FDA Bans Certain Egyptian Frozen Strawberries for Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A outbreak linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe products that were made with frozen strawberries has sickened at least 134 people, according to the FDA. Those berries were allegedly imported from Egypt, according to government officials. Now the FDA has issued an import alert banning frozen strawberries from one Egyptian facility, although a portion of the alert with details about the ban is redacted. The only portion in the "notes" field on the alert that isn't blacked out is the phrase "Problem(s): Hepatitis A (1b)." The facility is the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing. The "1b" denotes the strain of hepatitis A. A notice posted on the Virginia Department of Health website in August 2016 states that testing on the patients has confirmed … [Read more...]

CDC Updates Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Strawberries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is updating its investigation into the hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. As of October 17, 2016, 134 people with the illness have been reported from nine states. The outbreak case count by state is: Arkansas (1), California (1), Maryland (12), New York (3), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (107), West Virginia (7), and Wisconsin (1). Fifty-two ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. The patient in Oregon purchased smoothies from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia while traveling. The outbreak case count is so high in Virginia because Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in that state, as well as in Maryland, North Carolina, and West Virginia, received the … [Read more...]

Oahu, Hawaii McDonald’s Worker Sick with Hepatitis A

A worker at the McDonald's of Kahala restaurant at 4618 Kilauea Avenue in Honolulu, Oahu has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. This announcement was made on the page that agency established for updates on the hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened almost 300 people in that state. Those sickened ate raw scallops at Genki Sushi restaurants that were imported from the Philippines. The outbreak has slowed considerably in the past few weeks. The food worker at McDonald's worked September 20-21, 23-24, 27-28, and October 1, 4-5, 7 and 11, 2016. If you ate or drank anything at that restaurant on those days, you may have been exposed to hepatitis A. State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in a statement, "This case was identified and … [Read more...]

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