February 17, 2020

Cyclospora from Salad is Largest Food Poisoning Outbreak Since 2010

The Cyclospora outbreak,* which is fast approaching 500 illnesses, is the largest multi-state food poisoning outbreak since 2010 and ranks fourth largest among such outbreaks in the last five years. At least 486 cases of Cyclospora infection have been reported from 16 states. Twenty seven people have been hospitalized. Cases from two states, Iowa and Nebraska, which together have at least 236 cases, are considered part of the same outbreak.

Green Salad Dole ListeriaBecause Cyclospora is so rare, health officials have generally considered clusters appearing during the same time frame linked. A case is considered part of this outbreak if it is a “laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infection in a person with onset of illness since June 2013 and no history of travel outside of the United States or Canada during the 14 days prior to onset of illness,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At least 486 people in 16 states have been diagnosed with Cyclospora infections. By state the case count is as follows: Texas (171) Iowa (151), Nebraska (85), Florida (25), Wisconsin (12),  Illinois (9), Arkansas (8), New York (6), Georgia (4),  Kansas (3), Louisiana (3),   Missouri (3), Connecticut (2),  Ohio (2), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1).

There hasn’t been a larger outbreak since 2010 when a Salmonella outbreak linked to shell eggs produced in Iowa sickened 1,939 people. The egg outbreak, linked to producers from Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms of Iowa, is also the largest food poisoning outbreak in five years, according to CDC outbreak data from 2008 through 2013.

The second-largest food poisoning outbreak in the last five years is the 2008 Salmonella outbreak linked to contaminated produce from Mexico that sickened 1,442 people and hospitalized 286. Two people died in that 43-state outbreak.

The third largest is the peanut butter Salmonella outbreak of  2008-2009. In that 46-state outbreak, peanut butter produced by Peanut Corp. of America, sickened 714 people, and hospitalized 171. Nine people died.

The Cyclospora outbreak is the fourth largest outbreak in the last five years. It’s also the only one of the Top Five that was not caused by the Salmonella bacteria. Cyclospora is a rare parasite usually found in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Rounding out the the Top Five is last year’s tuna sushi Salmonella outbreak. That 28-state outbreak, linked to tuna scrape imported from India sickened 425 people and  hospitalized 55 .

*Note: The CDC map on the link above lags behind the accurate total of all cases.

 

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