April 15, 2024

Largest Multi-State Food Poisoning Outbreaks of 2013: #1

A Cyclospora outbreak that began in June and sickened 631 people in 25 states before ending in late September was the largest multi-state food poisoning outbreak of 2013. Health investigators determined that the outbreak had multiple food sources and that most illnesses were linked to tainted produce imported from Mexico.

Almost 80 percent of the cases were from three states: Iowa, Nebraska and Texas.  Public  health investigators in Iowa, which had 140 cases, and Nebraska, which had 87, determined that the source of illness in those states was commercial bagged salad mix produced by Taylor Farms of Mexico and served at Olive Graden and Red Lobster restaurants.

cyclospora-outbreak-384The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA concluded that many of the 270 cases of cyclosporiasis in Texas were caused by contaminated cilantro imported from Mexico and that the cause of 126 illnesses in the remaining 22 states was unknown.

For those who became ill, onset of illness dates ranged from June 1, 2013, to August 29, 2013. About 58 percent of the case patients, who ranged in age from less than 1 year to 94 years old, were female. The median age was 52. Eight percent of those sickened were hospitalized,  no deaths were reported. By state the case count for each state was as follows: Arkansas (16), California (1), Connecticut (2), Florida (33), Georgia (5), Illinois (14), Iowa (140), Kansas (4), Louisiana (3), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (1), Minnesota (3), Missouri (5), Nebraska (87), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (4), New York City (10), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (270), Virginia (4), Wisconsin (18), and Wyoming (1).

Cyclospora is a rare parasite usually associated with travel to tropical areas. It causes an infection called cyclosporiasis. Symptoms include watery diarrhea that lasts an average of 57 days if untreated. Other symptoms include fatigue,  low-grade fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches.




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