January 20, 2018

Two Months of Cyclospora Outbreaks; Half of Cases Unsolved

The nationwide Cyclospora outbreak has sickened at least 600 people in 20 states. The original outbreak, which was reported back in June in Iowa and Nebraska, has grown tremendously. The CDC entered the investigation in July and has updated the outbreak more than a dozen times. Thirty-six people have been hospitalized in this outbreak and no deaths have been reported.

The cases in Iowa and Nebraska have been linked to imported salad mix by Taylor Farms de Mexico that was sold to consumers at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. But that only accounts for about 250 cases; 350 illnesses are unsolved. The states involved in the outbreak include Texas, which has the most cases, Iowa, Nebraska, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, New York City, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, California, New Hampshire, and Tennessee. The median patient age is 51, and ill persons range in age from 1 to 92 years.

Taylor Farms de Mexico told the FDA on August 12, 2013, that they will no longer import any type of salad mix or leafy green to the US until the government approves. While the outbreak is slowing, more cases are still being reported. The latest case count includes illnesses that occurred before July 10, 2013. It takes a long time for these cases to be reported because the test for Cyclospora is unusual. The CDC is asking doctors to send stool sample results to them for positive verification. Public health officials still don’t know if all of the cases are part of the same outbreak.

The symptoms of Cyclospora include watery and explosive diarrhea that can last for two months, weight loss, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, stomach pain and abdominal cramps, fever, headache, bloating, gas, and nausea. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see a health care provider.

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