Northern Virginia restaurant worker tested positive for Hepatitis A

Northern Virginia restaurant worker tested positive for Hepatitis A

State health officials said that a person working at a Northern Virginia restaurant has contracted Hepatitis A. Recently, state reported 35 Hepatitis A cases that were associated with smoothies by the Tropical Smoothie Cafe chain. This new case of ill restaurant worker is also part of same investigation.

According to the state Health Department, the worker worked at Tropical Smoothie in Gainesville. It is believed that customers who visited the restaurant from July 28 to August 18 likely has surfed the illness. Moreover, those who visited the restaurant to either eat or drink something from August 12 to 18 could be treated.

Dr. Alison Ansher, the state health department director for Prince William County, said 14 of the 35 cases have been reported in Northern Virginia. In those 35 people the infection started taking its roots from early May thorough middle of August. This month the source of infection came to light, it is believed that the infected people had smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe chain.

Original source of the infection is believed to be frozen strawberries from Egypt. The chain that had been using these strawberries in its smoothies had stopped its supplies to the restaurant under it. Around 55% of those who got infection have been hospitalized.

Hepatitis A is liver infection that occurs when a person consumes contaminated food or water. To avoid the infection one should give importance to washing hands after activities such as use of bathroom and preparing food. According to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1,239 cases of hepatitis A reported throughout the United States in 2014.

"We sanitized our cafes, we maintain good safety protocols, and we re-certified our employees on food safety handling. And so it's disturbing that this can happen within our cafe," said Dennis Drake, owner of the Gainesville store.