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Hepatitis Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Hepatitis News & Outbreaks

Hawaii Scallop Hepatitis A Outbreak Hits 271

As of September 14, 2016:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 19 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 68 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Ten (10) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and four visitors have returned to the mainland.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A – 271
Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 9/4/16.

An employee of the following food service business(es) has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. This list does not indicate these businesses are sources of this outbreak; at this time, no infections have been linked to exposure to these businesses. The likelihood that patrons of these businesses will become infected is very low. However, persons who have consumed food or drink products from these businesses during the identified dates of service should contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care.

Listed businesses will be removed from this list once 50 days have elapsed from the affected employee’s last service date while potentially infectious. Since the incubation period for hepatitis A is between 15 and 50 days, any customers who were potentially exposed at that business are no longer considered at risk for developing hepatitis A from that exposure after 50 days have passed.

  • Chili’s, Oahu, Kapolei (590 Farrington Highway), July 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, and 27, 2016
  • Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Oahu, Honolulu (801 Kaheka Street), July 21-23, 26-30, and August 2-6, 9-11, 2016
  • Papa John’s Waipahu, Oahu, Waipahu (94-1021 Waipahu Street), July 23-24, and August 2, 2016
  • New Lin Fong bakery, Oahu, Chinatown (1132 Maunakea Street), July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and August 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016
  • Hawaiian Airlines, July 31-August 1, August 10-12
  • Zippy’s Restaurant, Oahu, Kapolei (950 Kamokila Boulevard), August 14, 18–19, 21, 23, and 25–26
  • Harbor Restaurant at Pier 38, Oahu, Honolulu (1133 North Nimitz Highway), August 26 through September 12
  • Benjamin Parker Elementary School, Oahu, August 28 through August 30

123 with Hepatitis A in Arkansas, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia

Arkansas, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are continuing to investigate a multistate outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A. Information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of acquiring hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Café’s, as the contaminated food product has been removed as of August 8. Symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection can take up to 50 days to appear.

As a result, CDC continues to identify cases of hepatitis A related to the initial contaminated product. As of September 14, 2016:

123 people with hepatitis A have been reported from eight states: Arkansas (1), Maryland (12), New York (3), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (98), West Virginia (6), and Wisconsin (1).

47 ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate frozen strawberries imported from Egypt are the likely source of this outbreak.

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Update

The Source:

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A in its state. For the latest case count and investigation findings, visit the HDOH outbreak investigation website. On August 15, 2016, HDOH identified raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants on the islands of Oahu and Kauai as a likely source of the ongoing outbreak.

On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp. recalled three lots of frozen bay scallops produced on November 23-24, 2015 in the Philippines. The lot numbers are 5885, 5886, and 5887. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. The recalled products were not sold directly to consumers by Sea Port.

The Toll:

As of August 31, 2016:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 13 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 64 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Ten (10) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and four visitors have returned to the mainland.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A – 241

Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/25/16.

Tropical Smoothie Café Hepatitis A Outbreak Update

The CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A.  70 people with hepatitis A have been reported from seven states: Maryland (6), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (55), West Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (1).  32 ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate frozen strawberries imported from Egypt are the likely source of this outbreak.

On August 8, 2016, Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they removed the Egyptian frozen strawberries from their restaurants in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and switched to another supplier. Out of an abundance of caution, Tropical Smoothie Café has since switched to another supplier for all restaurants nationwide.

Contact your doctor if you think you may have become ill from eating a smoothie containing strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café prior to August 8, 2016 in the following states:

  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina

It is important that food handlers and restaurant employees contact their doctor and stay home if they are infected with hepatitis A. This helps prevent the virus from spreading. Not everyone will experience symptoms from a hepatitis A virus infection. Some people may experience mild flu-like symptoms. Other symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection include:

  • Yellow eyes or skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pale stools
  • Dark urine

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Linked to 35 Hepatitis A Illnesses

The number of people sickened in a Hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen strawberries from Egypt served by Tropical Smoothie Cafe increased Friday to 35 as the timing of the public warning remain perplexing.

Virginia’s Department of Health issued a public warning August 19. However, the Health Department has not provided the date that the state received test results showing the victims are infected with the same strain of Hepatitis A isolated in strawberries from Egypt.

In a YouTube video posted last Sunday, Tropical Smoothie Cafe CEO Mike Rotondo apologized to customers and said the Virginia health department notified the chain August 5 about the possible link between the Egyptian strawberries and the outbreak. He said the chain immediately removed the frozen berries from all of its stores.  He did not explain why he did not then alert the public of the risk of illness.

As of Friday, the lag time between August 5 when the restaurant chain was apparently notified and August 19 when the public warning was issued remains unexplained by the Virginia health department or Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

Tropical Smoothie Cafes in Virginia Link in Hepatitis A Outbreak

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is investigating a cluster of hepatitis A cases and has identified a potential association with smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in Virginia. Genetic testing shows the illnesses were caused by a strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt. Upon learning of the potential link to strawberries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe immediately conducted a voluntary product withdrawal of all strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.

Individuals who consumed a smoothie from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia that contained frozen strawberries, on August 5, 6, 7 or 8, 2016, may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A. (Vaccine or immune globulin administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A virus is effective at preventing the disease.) If you have had hepatitis A or have been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you are already immune and therefore not at risk for getting the disease. Anyone who consumed a smoothie after the frozen strawberries were removed from restaurants is not thought to be at risk for hepatitis A.

Other restaurants, and firms that supply restaurants, may also have received the frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. VDH continues to investigate cases and work with state and federal partners, including the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to identify additional locations where the product may have been distributed.

Anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant within the last 50 days is encouraged to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A. If illness occurs, seek medical care and take steps to protect others from the infection.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.  The classic symptom of hepatitis A is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes.  Other symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

It is very important for people who have symptoms of hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.

Routine vaccination against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of this disease in the past decade.  Vaccination is available to anyone, but specifically recommended for all children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus.  Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers (including some pharmacies and travel clinics) to protect against this disease.

Virginia Reports Hepatitis A Outbreak

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is investigating a cluster of hepatitis A cases and has identified a potential association with smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in Virginia. Genetic testing shows the illnesses were caused by a strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt. Upon learning of the potential link to strawberries, Tropical Smoothie Cafe immediately conducted a voluntary product withdrawal of all strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.

Individuals who consumed a smoothie from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia that contained frozen strawberries, on August 5, 6, 7 or 8, 2016, may still benefit from vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A. (Vaccine or immune globulin administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A virus is effective at preventing the disease.) If you have had hepatitis A or have been vaccinated for hepatitis A, you are already immune and therefore not at risk for getting the disease. Anyone who consumed a smoothie after the frozen strawberries were removed from restaurants is not thought to be at risk for hepatitis A.

Other restaurants, and firms that supply restaurants, may also have received the frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. VDH continues to investigate cases and work with state and federal partners, including the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to identify additional locations where the product may have been distributed.

Anyone who consumed a smoothie with frozen strawberries at a restaurant within the last 50 days is encouraged to watch for symptoms of hepatitis A. If illness occurs, seek medical care and take steps to protect others from the infection.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.  The classic symptom of hepatitis A is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the eyes.  Other symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop 15-50 days after exposure to the virus, which can occur through direct contact with another person who has the infection or by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with the virus.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

It is very important for people who have symptoms of hepatitis A to stay home from work, especially if they work in food service.

Routine vaccination against hepatitis A has reduced the risk of this disease in the past decade.  Vaccination is available to anyone, but specifically recommended for all children, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus.  Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers (including some pharmacies and travel clinics) to protect against this disease.

Individuals can contact their local health department with any questions concerning this investigation. For more information, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/hepatitis-a/.

Imported Sushi Source of Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak

sushiThe Hawaii State Department of Health has ordered all Oahu and Kauai Genki Sushi Restaurants to close for business immediately.  The Department of Health has determined the Hepatitis A outbreak on Oahu is likely due to imported frozen scallops served raw at Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. The restaurants have been closed tonight to prevent any further illness and protect the public.

As of Wednesday, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) has identified 33 new cases of Hepatitis A, bringing the total to 168.

All cases have been adults with 46 requiring hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu.

Eight individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

Onset of illness has ranged between June 12th to August 1st.

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak: 168 Sick and 46 Hospitalized

As of Wednesday, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) has identified 33 new cases of Hepatitis A, bringing the total to 168.

All cases have been adults with 46 requiring hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu.

Eight individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

Onset of illness has ranged between June 12th to August 1st.

There has also been an even wider impact on the businesses that employed some of those ill people.  The following businesses have been linked to those illnesses:

Baskin-Robbins, Oahu, Waikele Center – June 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 30, and July 1 and 3, 2016

Chili’s, Oahu, Kapolei (590 Farrington Highway) – July 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, and 27, 2016

Costco Bakery, Oahu, Hawaii Kai – June 16-20, 2016

Hawaiian Airlines – July 1-26, 2016

Sushi Shiono, Hawaii, Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace (69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive) – July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21, 2016

Taco Bell, Oahu, Waipio (94-790 Ukee Street) – June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11, 2016

Tamashiro Market, Oahu, Kalihi (802 N. King Street) – July 2, 4, 6–8, 11–13, 15–19, and 23, 2016

Papa John’s Waipahu, Oahu, Waipahu (94-1021 Waipahu Street) – July 23-24, and Aug. 2, 2016

New Lin Fong bakery, Oahu, Chinatown (1132 Maunakea Street) – July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016

Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, wo required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak By the Numbers: 135 Sick, 39 Hospitalized, 0 Cause

As of August 3, 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health has identified 42 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 39 have required hospitalization.  The total is now 135 with onset of illness ranging between 6/12/16 – 7/24/16.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu.  Seven (7) individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

The following locations are NOT the source of the outbreak, but ill persons have work there and have expose other people:

  • Baskin-Robbins Oahu Waikele Center – exposure risk: June 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 30, and July 1 and 3, 2016
  • Chili’s Oahu Kapolei (590 Farrington Highway) – exposure risk: July 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, and 27, 2016
  • Costco Bakery Oahu Hawaii Kai – exposure risk: June 16-20, 2016
  • Hawaiian Airlines Flight – exposure risk: July 1-26, 2016
  • Sushi Shiono Hawaii Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace (69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive) – exposure risk: July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21, 2016
  • Taco Bell Oahu Waipio (94-790 Ukee Street) – exposure risk: June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11, 2016