More than fifty people, including at least three West Virginians in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, have tested positive for hepatitis A. The outbreak has been traced to frozen strawberries imported from Egypt and used by the chain Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The most common way a person contracts hepatitis A is by eating something that has been contaminated with the feces of an infected person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The strawberries were linked to the outbreak in early August.
The highly contagious virus can also be transmitted from person to person, but does not result in a chronic infection. Not everyone will experience symptoms from a hepatitis A infection, though, said Commissioner for Public Health Rahul Gupta in a press release. Common symptoms include, flu-like symptoms, yellow eyes or skin, abdominal pain or dark urine. People who recover from hepatitis A are protected from the virus for life.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.