At least 495 people in 30 states have been sickened with with parasitic infections from food contaminated with Cyclospora. Cilantro imported from Mexico has been identified as the source of illness clusters in Texas and Wisconsin. Investigations are ongoing to determine the source in the remaining 28 states.
In three states: Texas, Wisconsin, and Georgia, illnesses have been linked to food served at restaurants. But health officials have not released the names of those establishments.
Cyclosporiasis, the infection caused by the Cyclospora parasite, causes profuse, often explosive, diarrhea that can last two months or more. Other symptoms, which can also last more than 60 days, include abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms.
Two years ago, Cyclospora in commercial bagged salad mix produced by Taylor Farms of Mexico and served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants sickened 227 people in Iowa and Nebraska.
Ryan Osterholm, a noted food safety attorney, filed a lawsuit on behalf of an Iowa woman who contracted cyclosporiasis after eating at an Olive Garden. Her illnesses lasted several weeks and included three trips to the emergency room, according to the complaint.