October 23, 2016

In Canada, Cyclospora Outbreak Grows to Include 61 Cases


In Canada, a Cyclospora outbreak has grown to include 61 cases. Health officials have not yet identified the food source of the outbreak, but imported produce is  suspected.

A parasite native to tropical climates, Cyclospora is not commonly found in Canada or the U.S. Often illnesses are travel-related or linked to imported produce such as berries, salads greens, and peas.

In this outbreak, the 61 cases were reported between May and July from: British Columbia (1), Alberta (2), Ontario (52), and Quebec (6). One person was hospitalized.

The outbreak occurs as more than 150 British travelers to resorts in Cancun, Mexico picked up the parasite while vacationing and as Texas battles a Cyclospora outbreak for the fourth straight summer. A food source has not been identified, but the previous three outbreaks were linked to  cilantro imported form Mexico.

Cyclospora is passed in feces which can then can contaminate food or water and cause illness. Symptoms, which can last up to 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.

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