August 23, 2019

Source of Most Cyclospora Cases in Current Outbreak Unknown

A cyclospora outbreak that sickened 304 people in 19 states this summer has gone largely unsolved. Cilantro from Mexico was identified as the source of the 133 cases in Texas, but the source of the 171 cases in the remaining 18 states has not been identified. Similarly, in a 2013 outbreak, a food source for of most of the 643 cases of cyclospora reported in 25 states was never identified.

CyclosporaIn both outbreaks, cilantro imported from Puebla Mexico was identified as the food source for cases in Texas. This year, 133 people in Texas contracted infections from eating food contaminated with the parasite, last year, 270 Texans got cyclosporiasis from contaminated cilantro.

Cyclospora is a parasite normally found in tropical or sub-tropical regions. If ingested in its mature state, the parasite causes an infection called cyclosporiasis.  Only about 150 of these infections are reported nationwide each year, most of which are  associated with travel.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis can last two months and include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms.  Treatment with the antibiotic combination Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX),  sold under the brand names Bactrim, Septra and Cotrim, can clear up the infection.

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