November 17, 2019

Michigan Cyclospora Cluster Sickens Three

Cyclospora outbreak in MI Three people in Michigan have confirmed cases of cyclospora infection, the Michigan Department of Community Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin today. A food source for the cluster of illnesses, concentrated in the southeastern part of the state, has not yet been identified.

Spikes in cases of cyclosporiasis, the infection caused by the rare cyclospora parasite, have been reported in 18 other states this summer. In Texas, 124 cases from 31 counties have been reported since mid-June. Health authorities have not yet identified a food source in any of the affected states, nor have they been able to determine which, if any, of the cases may be related.

Food sources for past outbreaks have been: restaurant salad, cilantro, basil, raspberries, mesclun and snow peas. Last year,  a 25-state cyclospora outbreak sickened 631 people. 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. But its not a direct person-to-person path. Cyclospora that is freshly shed in the stools of an infected person is immature and unable to cause infection. The oocysts need to sporulate over a number of days or weeks before they become mature and infective.

Symptoms of a cyclopora infection, can last up to two months and include bouts of diarrhea that can be watery or explosive,  abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss. Vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever are also possible.

Cyclosporiasis is normally treated with Bactrim, Septra, or Cotrim. These drugs contain sulfa and those with allergies to sulfa cannot take it.

Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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