The Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting that there are now 87 cases of cyclosporiasis in that country, up from 83 a few days ago. The case count by province is: British Columbia (4), Alberta (1), Ontario (77), and Quebec (5). Two people have been hospitalized; no deaths have been reported.
No source for this outbreak has been identified, but the investigation is ongoing. Previous outbreaks of Cyclospora have been linked to basil, cilantro, pre-packaged salad mix, berries, mesclun lettuce, and snow peas. No multi-jurisdicitonal outbreaks have been linked to produce grown in Canada.
A Cyclospora outbreak in the United States has sickened 476 people in 29 states. Some of those illnesses are linked to fresh cilantro imported from the Puebla region of Mexico.
Those who are most at risk for a cyclospora infection are people with weakened immune systems and chronic illnesses, young children, and older adults. The infection is treated with antibiotics. Even with treatment, it may take weeks to recover fully.
To help protect yourself against this parasite, wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them, clean counters and cutting boards frequently, and wash your hands often while preparing food. Ask your grocer where the produce you buy comes from. And avoid eating fresh herbs and uncooked produce if you are in a high risk group.