February 24, 2020

Cyclospora in 13 States Sickens 125

At least 125 cases of cyclospora infection have been reported in 13 states, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) in Minnesota.  Health officials have not determined if the cases are linked and a food source has not been identified. But as spike in cases is unusual.

CyclosporaCyclospora is a rare parasite normally associated with tropical or subtropical climates. In the U.S., cases of infection, called cyclosporiasis, are most often associated with travel. Last year, the single-celled organism burst into national headlines when a 25-state outbreak sickened 631 people, hospitalizing 49. Produce imported from Mexico was identified as the source of most of those illnesses.

Cyclospora is transmitted via the fecal-oral route, meaning microscopic amounts of fecal matter from an infected person contaminate food that is then eaten by another person. Symptoms of a cyclopora infection, can last up to two months and include bouts of diarrhea that is often watery or explosive,  abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss. Other symptoms such as vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever are also possible.

Cyclosporiasis is normally treated with the antibiotic combination trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, also known as Bactrim, Septra, or Cotrim. Sulfamethoxazole is a sulfa drug and those with allergies to sulfa cannot take it.

Food Poisoning Bulletin reported yesterday that 61 cases of cyclosporiasis had been reported in Texas and four had been confirmed in Maine. According to CIDRAP, 60 other cases have been reported in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Tennessee.

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