April 23, 2024

With 643 Ill, Cyclospora is Among Largest Outbreaks in 5 Years

With a total of 643 people ill, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Cyclospora outbreak  is one of the five largest food poisoning outbreaks in the last five years. Since 2008, just three other outbreaks have been larger.

Food Poisoning IBDThe source of illness for residents in Iowa and Nebraska has been identified as contaminated salad mix from Taylor Farms of Mexico served at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants. But investigators from the CDC and the FDA say that it does not appear that the same mix is responsible for illnesses in others states. They are still trying to identify the food source that transmitted the rare parasite, usually associated with tropical climates, to more than 400 people in 23 states. That likely makes it one of the most perplexing outbreaks, too.

CDC investigators believe the outbreak may actually be separate concurrent or overlapping outbreaks.  They had hoped that Texas, which as the most and most recent cases, would shed light on the mystery, but after weeks of analysis, the agency has been mum.

As of September 20,  a total of 643 cases of cyclosporiasis have been reported from 25 states. Since the last update on September 17, 1 additional ill case in Kanas has been confirmed. By state the case count is as follows: Texas (278), Iowa (153), Nebraska (86), Florida (32), Wisconsin (17), Arkansas (13), Illinois (13), New York (9), Georgia (5), Missouri (5), Kansas (4), New Jersey (4), Louisiana (3), Massachusetts (3), Minnesota (3), Ohio (3), Virginia (3), Connecticut (2),  California (1), Michigan (1), New Hampshire (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), and Wyoming (1).

Those who became ill range in age from less than one year to 92 years old. The median age is 52 years. Fifty-seven percent of those sickened are female. Forty five people have been hospitalized. Illnesses that occurred after August 14, could take up to six weeks to report.

Since 2008, there have been three other food poisoning outbreaks larger than this one. In 2010, a Salmonella outbreak linked to shell eggs produced in Iowa sickened 1,939 people. In 2008, a Salmonella outbreak linked to contaminated produce from Mexico sickened 1,442 people and hospitalized 286. Two people died in that 43-state outbreak. In 2008-2009 a Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter produced by  Peanut Corp. of America, sickened 714 people in 46 states. At least 171 people were hospitalized 171. Nine people died. Following Cyclospora is the tuna sushi Salmonella outbreak of 2012 which sickened 425 people and hospitalized 55.


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