For the third straight year, Texas has been hit by a Cyclospora outbreak. The rare parasite usually associated with developing countries in tropical or sub-tropical regions has made its way to Texas on food. More than 25 counties have been affected included those surrounding the metropolitan areas of Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.
In 2013 and 2014, contaminated cilantro imported from the Puebla region of Mexico was identified as the source of the outbreaks.. In 2014, at least 126 people were sickened, the 2013 outbreak included 270 Texans.
When ingested in its mature state, Cyclospora causes an infection called cyclosporiasis. On average, just 150 cases are reported nationwide each year, most of them are associated with travel to developing countries.
Symptoms of cyclosporiasis can last two months and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, 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.