February 27, 2024

CDC Encouraging Telediagnosis in Cyclospora Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging a new way to confirm cases in the multi-state Cyclospora outbreak called telediagnosis. Public health officials say that labs should use this method, which lets state health labs submit images showing suspected Cyclospora oocysts to the CDC. So far, 33 cases have been confirmed in CDC labs.

cyclospora-outbreak-384At least 363 people have been sickened in this outbreak. Our numbers are different from the CDCs numbers because we call each health department individually to get the latest updates. So far, at least 21 people in three states have been hospitalized for complications from this illness. Most of the illness onset dates in this outbreak have ranged from mid-June through early July. The outbreak is growing by the day, and now fifteen states have been affected.

Health officials do not know if all of the reported cases are linked to the same contaminated food. Some agencies suspect the cause is imported vegetables, but no single food has been fingered.

To help protect yourself, thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before eating and preparation. Parasites and bacteria can cling to food, especially food with crenelated surfaces such as lettuce and raspberries. But it can be difficult to wash the oocysts of the Cyclospora parasite off the produce.

If you have experienced the symptoms of a Cyclospora infection, including watery diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting, see your health care provider. The symptoms of this infection can recur more than once if the illness is not treated. And since the most effective treatment for a Cyclospora infection is sulfa, which many people are allergic to, treatment can be difficult.

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