December 15, 2019

2019 Cyclospora Outbreaks Sickened More Than 2,400

The CDC has issued a final report on the cyclospora outbreaks that hit the United States in 2019. This illness is most common in the summer months, and can run from May through September. Multiple outbreaks of cyclosporiasis were identified and linked to different produce items this year.

2019 2019 Cyclospora Outbreaks Sickened More Than 2,400

As of November 13, 2019, there are 2,408 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in 37 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City. These people got sick between May 1 and August 31, 2019, and had no history of international travel during the 14-day period before illness onset.

At least 144 people were hospitalized in the various outbreaks. Multiple illness clusters were associated with different restaurants and events. About 10% of ill persons were associated with a multistate cyclospora outbreak that was linked to fresh basil imported by Siga Logistics de RL de CV of Morelos, Mexico. Two hundred forty-one people were sickened in that outbreak alone.

Many cases of cyclosporiasis could not be linked to an outbreak, because there is no validated molecular typing tool for this parasite.

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If you have been sickened with a cyclospora infection, you can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

This number of illnesses is higher than the cases reported to the government during the same time frame in 2017 and 2018. This increase may be due to changes in diagnostic testing practices to examine stool specimens.

The outbreaks announced by various state health departments may or may not have been associated with the basil Siga Logistics illnesses. The outbreaks that were reported by states and associated with restaurants and events in 2019 cyclospora outbreaks included:

  • An outbreak associated with workplace cafeterias in Virginia that sickened at last 39 people.
  • A large cyclospora outbreak at Cooper’s Hawk Winery in the Jacksonville, Florida area sickened at least 132 people in 11 states.
  • An outbreak in Minnesota sickened 35 people and was associated with three restaurants located in different areas of the state.
  • Cyclosporiasis illnesses in New York City in July sickened more than 90 people.
  • A Boston Cyclospora outbreak, also in July, sickened more than 100 people.

Cyclospora is a single celled parasite that is endemic to subtropical and tropical areas of the globe. The parasite is spread through human feces. The parasite is not spread person-to-person, because it needs time outside the body to sporulate, or become infectious.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include watery diarrhea that is frequent and explosive, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps and pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. If this infection is not treated, it can last for months and recur without warning.

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