July 10, 2020

Texas Has 171 Cases of Cyclospora

There are 171 cases of cyclosporiasis in Texas, which makes it the hardest hit state in this nationwide outbreak. The Texas Department of State Health Services is investigating the outbreak, trying to identify a possible common cause of the illnesses.

cyclospora-outbreak-384The cases have not yet been linked to the outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska, which has sickened almost 250 people and has been linked to salads by Taylor Farm de Mexico, sold at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. Past Cyclospora outbreaks have been linked to imported fresh produce. The counties in Texas that have reported illnesses include Brazoria, Cass, Dallas, El Paso, Galveston, Hood, Hunt, Parker, Smith, and Victoria, among others.

The CDC says the total nationwide case count is 425 in 16 states, with 24 people hospitalized. But their count has Texas with only 127 illnesses, so the total outbreak count is likely higher.

While you can reduce the risk of illness by washing and drying produce before preparing it and eating it, the Cyclospora oocysts are very sticky and are difficult to rinse off more delicate fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and lettuce. In addition, this illness is usually not passed from person to person, since the oocysts need to spend at least one week outside the human body before becoming sporulating and becoming infectious.

The symptoms of a Cyclospora infection include frequent, sometimes explosive, and watery diarrhea that can last for 2 months; abdominal cramps; loss of appetite; weight loss; and prolonged fatigue. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please see a health care provider. Your doctor will have to order a specific, not commonly used test to diagnose this infection.

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