June 15, 2024

Cyclospora: CDC Cyclosporiasis Outbreak Update and FAQ

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora infections (cyclosporiasis) in 15 states: Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio. Almost 400 people have contracted cyclosporiasis, which can cause weeks of diarrhea.

What is the food that is making people sick?

Bagged salad mix is the source of this outbreak, according to the CDC and Iowa and Nebraska health officials. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that the salad mix contained iceberg and romaine lettuce, carrots and red cabbage. The Nebraska Department of Health stated that the salad mix came through national distribution channels.

What is Cyclospora?

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite composed of one, microscopic cell. This parasite causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis.


How is did Cyclospora spread in this outbreak?

Cyclospora is spread by people eating food or water that was contaminated with human feces (stool) containing Cyclospora oocysts. When the oocyts are excreted, they are unsporulated (in an uninfectious state). It takes days or weeks after Cyclospora is passed in a bowel movement for it to become sporulated (infectious for another person).  In this outbreak, the lettuce, carrots or cabbage most likely got contaminated with human feces containing unsporulated Cyclospora oocysts. The ingredients were picked, processed and bagged at a plant. From there, the bagged salad went to restaurants and possibly other locations. By the time people ate the salad, the oocyts had sporulated, making them able to infect people.

What are the symptoms of Cyclospora infection?

It takes about a week after eating food contaminated with Cyclospora to become sick. Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted.

What is the treatment?

The recommended treatment is a combination of two antibiotics, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (a sulfa medication), also known as Bactrim, Septra, or Cotrim. People who have diarrhea should also rest and drink plenty of fluids.

How long can the symptoms last?

If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse). It’s common to feel very tired.

Victims have been contacting attorneys for legal help. “If your case of Cyclospora is linked to a restaurant, you have the right to sue that restaurant for compensation,” said attorney Fred Pritzker, who has been contacted by victims of this outbreak.



  1. Sylvia Gibson says

    Why not give the brand names and/or growers/processors? By not informing the public of ALL aspects of this, or any other contamination, you have failed at your job.

    • Sylvia Gibson says

      Meant the govt has failed at their jobs.

    • Kathy Will says

      The CDC and health departments are not releasing the brand names and/or growers/processors, so we are unable to provide this information. When and if it is provided, I will update this post.

      • Kathy Will says

        The FDA has confirmed that cyclosporiasis food poisoning cases have been linked to salad processed by Taylor Farms de Mexico and supplied to Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska.

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