June 17, 2024

Texas Cyclospora Illnesses Linked To Cilantro From Restaurants and Grocery Store

Cyclospora on Cilantro imported from Mexico sickened 30 people who ate at a Mexican-style restaurant in Fort Bend County, Texas, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health investigators also identified illness clusters associated with two other Texas restaurants and one grocery store.

CilantroThe agency has not released the names of the restaurants or the store, which is located in North Texas. Shopper card information revealed that four people who were sickened had all purchased fresh cilantro within three days of each other. The purchases were made seven to 10 days before they became ill, which is consistent with the incubation period for cyclosporiasis, the infection caused by the Cyclospora parasite.

In interviews with the 278 Texans who developed cyclosporiasis, public health officials learned that about 50 percent of them said they had eaten fresh Cilantro two to 14 days before becoming sick. Weeks ago, contaminated lettuce from Taylor Farms de Mexico served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants was identified as the source of Cyclospora illnesses in Nebraska and Iowa. Lettuce was not associated with illnesses in Texas. This confirms the CDC’s hunch that the outbreak, which sickened 643 people in 25 states, was not one large outbreak but several concurrent or overlapping outbreaks.

Identifying illness clusters is one way health investigators zero in on an outbreak source. If several unrelated people who became ill ate or shopped at the same location within several days of each other, it suggests that the contaminated food item was served or sold there. Once those locations are identified, records kept there can help with traceback investigations of the suspected food items. In all, health investigators identified more than 70  illness clusters in Texas. Most of them involved two or three ill persons.

Health officials believe these outbreaks are over. The source of illness in 22 states has not been identified. The case counts in all states affected by these outbreaks is as follows: Texas (278), Iowa (153), Nebraska (86), Florida (32), Wisconsin (17), Arkansas (13), Illinois (13), New York City (7), Georgia (5), Missouri (5), Kansas (4), New Jersey (4), Louisiana (3), Massachusetts (3), Minnesota (3), Ohio (3), Virginia (3), Connecticut (2), New York (2), California (1), Michigan (1), New Hampshire (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), and Wyoming (1).



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