December 16, 2019

Cyclospora Sickens 160 in Texas

At least 160 people in Texas have contracted cyclospora infections from an unknown food source, according to the latest update from the Texas Department of State Health Services.  A surge in cases of cyclosporiasis has been reported in 18 other states including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

Cyclospora, a parasite normally associated with tropical or subtropical climates, sickened 631 people in 2013, 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. Cyclosporiasis symptoms can last up to two months and include 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.

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