A Cyclospora outbreak in Canada has sickened 51 people in four provinces. An ongoing investigation by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada has not yet revealed the source of the outbreak.
Cyclospora is a parasite native to tropical climates. Often, illnesses are associated with travel to tropical or suntropical countries and imported produce is usually the source of non-travel outbreaks in the U.S. or Canada.
Recent U.S. outbreaks have been linked to cilantro and bagged salad mix. Other cyclospora outbreaks have been linked to raspberries, basil, blackberries, mesclun, and snap peas.
In this outbreak, the 51 cases were reported between May and July from: British Columbia (1), Alberta (2), Ontario (44), and Quebec (4). One person was hospitalized.
Cyclospora is passed in feces which can then can contaminate food or water and cause illness. Symptoms, which can last 70 days, include diarrhea that can be profuse and explosive, fatigue, weight loss, mild fever, loss of appetite and abdominal cramps. These symptoms usually develop one to two weeks after exposure.
Anyone who develops these symptoms should see a doctor. It is important to drink fluids to prevent dehydration.