May 29, 2024

CDC: Cyclospora Outbreak Tops 500, 30 Hospitalized

More than 500 people in 17 states have been diagnosed with Cyclosporiasis, an infection from the rare Cyclospora parasite, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  When did they eat the contaminated food?

cyclospora-outbreak-384The incubation period for Cyclsoporiasis is about seven days. So far, the agency only has information on when illness began for 372 people. For 309 of them,  onset of illness began between June 14 and July 6. Twenty one people became ill between June 1 and June 13;  and 42 people became ill between July 7 and July 24.

What’s not known is when as many as 150 people other people became ill and what it is that’s making them sick. A food source has only been identified for illnesses in Iowa and Nebraska. Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced bagged salad from Taylor Farms in Mexico served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster was the source of illness for people in those states. The agency has not released information on what other restaurants or facilities that serve food service salad received salad from that company. But it did say bagged salad sold at grocery stores was not implicated.

At least 514 people in 17 states have been diagnosed with Cyclospora infections. At least 30 people in 5 states have been hospitalized. New Hampshire is the most recent state to be added with one case. With more than 200 cases, Texas has been hardest hit.  By state, the case count is as follows: Texas (206), Iowa (153), Nebraska (79), Florida (27), Wisconsin (10), Illinois (9), Arkansas (5), New York (6), Georgia (4), Kansas (3), Louisiana(3), Missouri (3), Ohio (2), Connecticut (1), Minnesota (1), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1).

Symptoms of Cyclosporiasis include: watery or explosive diarrhea, cramping, bloating, gas, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. See your doctor if you have these symptoms.

Cyclospora infections are diagnosed by examining stool specimens. Some people who have symptoms, may not shed enough of the parasite in their stool to be readily detected by lab exams, so some patients might need to submit several specimens collected on different days.

Cyclospora oocysts are autofluorescent, meaning they glow when viewed under an ultraviolet (UV) fluorescence microscope. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis can be used to look for the parasite’s DNA in the stool.

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