June 22, 2018

CDC: Cyclospora Sickens 304 in 19 States

Cyclospora in 19 states Food contaminated with cyclospora sickened at least 304 people in 19 states this summer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of the illnesses, 133, are in Texas where health authorities have identified cilantro imported from Puebla, Mexico as the source of the illnesses. Cilantro from Puebla, Mexico was also the food source of a 2013 cyclospora outbreak in Texas that sickened 270 people.

Cyclospora is a parasite found in tropical or sub-tropical regions. If ingested in its mature state, the parasite causes an infection called cyclosporiasis.  Only about 150 of these infections are reported nationwide each year. Normally associated with travel.

Epidemiological and traceback investigations conducted at four restaurants in Texas indicated fresh cilantro from Puebla, Mexico was the source of illness, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency has increased surveillance sampling on cilantro imported that region and is working with Mexican authorities to narrow the source to a specific farm or growing area.

Cilantro from Mexico is not believed  to be the source of infections outside of Texas. Investigations in other states are considered ongoing.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis can last two months and include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms.  Treatment with the antibiotic combination Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX),  sold under the brand names Bactrim, Septra and Cotrim, can clear up the infection.

The 19 states that reported spikes in cases of cyclosporiasis this summer are: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York , Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington. Fifty six percent of the case patients, who range in age from 3 to 88, are female.  The median age is 49. Seven people were hospitalized.

 

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