May 25, 2024

Cyclospora Outbreak Sickens Almost 1000

A huge cyclospora outbreak in the United States has sickened 988 people as of September 13, 2017. Every summer there is a large cyclospora outbreak in the United States. This illness, caused by the Cyclospora cayetensis parasite, is endemic to tropical and subtropical areas of the globe.

Cyclospora Outbreak 92117

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the this number includes people who reported international travel, as well as those who did not report travel. The reports have come from 40 states.

At least 553, or 56%, of those sickened did not travel internationally. That means they were infected in the United States. Illness onset dates started on or before May 1, 2017. The report says that “it is too early to say whether cases of Cyclospora infection in different states are related to each other or to the same food item(s).”

The case count per state is: Arizona (1), California (10), Colorado (6), Connecticut (23), Florida (68), Georgia (10), Illinois (17), Indiana (4), Iowa (14), Kansas (2), Louisiana (7), Maryland (12), Massachusetts (13), Michigan (3), Minnesota (11), Mississippi (1), Missouri (13), Montana (2), Nebraska (5), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (19), New Mexico (1), New York (excluding NYC) (15), New York City (30), North Carolina (45), Ohio (16), Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (7), South Dakota (4), Tennessee (3), Texas (163), Utah (1), Virginia (7), Washington (1), West Virginia (2), and Wisconsin (9).

Public health officials have not identified any specific vehicle of interest. In the past, these outbreaks have been linked to cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, basil, and snow peas.

This huge outbreak is much larger than cyclospora outbreaks in previous years. In 2015, an outbreak sickened more than 500 people. And in 2016, just 88 people were sickened by this parasite.

To protect yourself against this illness, thoroughly wash all fresh produce you buy. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to wash the one-celled parasite from fruits and vegetables, especially those with crenelated or rough surfaces. Cooking will kill the parasite. Also be sure to wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom, taking care of someone who is sick, or changing diapers. Stay home from work or school if you have a diarrheal illness.

The symptoms of cyclosporiasis include bloating, nausea, vomiting, a low fever, weight los, abdominal cramps, fatigue, and watery diarrhea that is explosive and can last for weeks or months. There is treatment for this illness, but symptoms may still recur.

Cyclosporiasis is not transmitted person-to-person. The oocysts are shed in feces. It takes up to 2 weeks for them to become infectious after they leave the body.

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