The Texas Department of State Health Services has received reports of 237 cases of cyclosporiasis from around Texas this year. Outbreaks in the past have been associated with imported fresh produce. Some of these illnesses may be linked to cilantro imported from the Puebla area of Mexico.
The Food and Drug Administration has placed an import ban on cilantro from that region, since they suspect it is contaminated with the Cyclospora parasite.
Cyclosporiasis is caused by consuming water or food contaminated with the Cyclospora oocyst. Symptoms of this illness include explosive and watery diarrhea, which can last for months, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Washing fresh produce will help reduce the risk of cyclosporiasis, but will not eliminate it completely. The oocysts can be difficult to wash off fruits and vegetables. Cooking will kill the parasite.
So far, Travis county in Texas has the most cases, with 87, followed by Dallas county with 28 and Collin county with 13. Travis county has 11, Williamson and Denton counties have 10 cases each, and Bear, Harris, and Hays have seven each.