The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department is investigating a cyclospora outbreak in Texas. As of June 23, 2015, there are 15 confirmed and probable cases and 11 new cases under investigation. In the past week, 42 cases have been reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Cyclospora is a parasite that is spread when food or water is contaminated with feces. It is not spread person-to-person, since the parasite needs to develop to become infectious again. People can become infected with this microscopic organism by drinking water or eating food that contains the spores.
Time between exposure and illness is usually about 7 days. Cyclospora attacks the small intestine and causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive,bowel movements. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. People may also experience vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and flu-like symptoms.
If not treated, this infection can last up to a month or ever longer. Symptoms can also disappear and then reoccur several times. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your health care provider.