August 18, 2019

Texas Cyclospora Outbreak Hits Dallas-Ft. Worth Hard

A Texas Cyclospora outbreak has hit the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area hard. Of the 48 people who have been infected by the rare parasite, 41 live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area.

TX-CyclosporaCollin county has reported 14 cases, Tarrant County has 11, Dallas County has 10 and Denton County has six. Health officials do not no the exact source of the outbreak, but fresh vegetables are a suspect.

Texas is one of six states grappling with a Cyclospora outbreak. In Illinios, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin hundreds have been sickened by the single-celled organism. Health officials are trying to determine if the outbreaks are linked.

Cyclospora causes prolonged bouts of watery or explosive diarrhea that last an average of two months. Other symptoms of a Cyclospora infection include nausea, vomiting, bloating, gassiness, abdominal cramps, weight loss, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, fatigue and malaise.  These symptoms can cause dehydration, which requires medical attention.  Dehydration symptoms of include sunken eyes, reduced urine output, reduced tear production and dry mouth or tongue. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor.

Cyclospora is most commonly found in tropical climates. In the past, U.S. outbreaks have been linked to imported fresh produce such as raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun lettuce. It is unclear if, addition to imported vegetables, vegetable or olive oils may also be suspect. Health officials in Iowa and Nebraska have noted that the produce responsible was not grown in those states either on a commercial farm or private garden.

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