September 22, 2018

Cyclospora in 8 States Sickens 276, Hospitalizes 10

Cyclospora, a rare parasite, has sickened 274 people in eight states according to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments. Ten people have been hospitalized.

cyclosporaCase counts by state are as follows: Iowa (134), Nebraska (68), Texas (65), Wisconsin (4), Georgia (2), Connecticut (2), Illinois (1), Kansas (1). The cases in Illinois and Kansas may have been acquired out of state. New York and Florida also have reported cases to the CDC in recent weeks.

Health officials are uncertain if all the cases are related. But Cyclospora is rare. Nationwide, an average of 147 cases have been diagnosed over the last five years. Often these cases are associated with travel to tropical or subtropical regions.

Direct person-to-person transmission of Cyclospora is uncommon. Almost always, people become infected with Cyclospora when they ingest food contaminated with the fecal matter of an infected person. In this outbreak, onset of illness dates range form mid-June to early July.

Health officials have not pinpointed a food source but imported vegetables are a suspect. Some case patients mentioned eating lettuce at a restaurant. Due to the perishable nature of fresh produce, it is unlikely that the contaminated vegetable is still on the market.

Symptoms can take two weeks after exposure to develop and can persist for up to two months. They include: watery or explosive diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, bloating, gassiness, abdominal cramps, weight loss, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, fatigue and malaise.  See your doctor if you have had these symptoms for more than a few days especially if you have sunken eyes, reduced urine output, reduced tear production or dry mouth or tongue, which are symptoms of dehydration.

Note: Map does not show Iowa’s most recent case count which is 134.

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