Worker at Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurant in Gainesville diagnosed with hepatitis A

- Customers at a Tropical Smoothie Café restaurant in Gainesville, Va., are being warned that they may have been exposed with hepatitis A after an employee was diagnosed with the virus.

Virginia health officials said the exposure may have occurred for anyone who ate or consumed a smoothie at the restaurant located at 8069 Stonewall Shops Square from July 28 through August 18.

This comes as the Virginia Department of Health said there have been 35 confirmed cases of hepatitis A across the state linked to potentially contaminated frozen strawberries imported from Egypt by Tropical Smoothie Café.

After being notified of the possible contamination, the nationwide smoothie chain, which has 96 stores in Virginia, voluntarily pulled the Egyptian-sourced strawberries from all of its restaurants and has been cooperating with the health department.

Hepatitis A can cause inflammation of the liver and symptoms such as jaundice, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools can develop 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. The virus can be obtained through direct contact with another person who has been infected or by consuming food or drink contaminated by the virus. Anyone who has not been vaccinated for hepatitis A may be susceptible to the virus.

Lawsuit have been filed against Tropical Smoothie Cafe by customers who claim they have fallen ill after eating at their restaurants.

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