November 12, 2019

Cyclospora Outbreak at Cooper’s Hawk Winery in FL Sickens 80

Almost 80 people have now been sickened in a cyclospora outbreak after eating at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant on Big Island Drive near the St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, Florida, according to news reports. There is no information about this outbreak on the Duval County Health Department website.

Cyclospora Outbreak at Cooper's Hawk Winery in FL Sickens 80

Many of those sickened have tested positive for cyclospora, which is a parasite that is often linked to fresh produce and can cause debilitating symptoms that may last for weeks. The restaurant, in a statement, said that the illnesses may be linked to fresh produce. Many of those sickened said they had a salad at the restaurant.

Previous cyclospora outbreaks in the United States have been linked to raspberries, mesclun lettuce, cilantro, and last year to McDonald’s salads and vegetable snack trays produced by Del Monte. The McDonald’s outbreak sickened more than 500 people, and the Del Monte outbreak sickened 250 people.

Cyclospora outbreaks have been occurring regularly every summer in the United States. The parasite is endemic in tropical regions. In the past, U.S. citizens sickened by this parasite had visited other countries before getting sick.

It is difficult if not impossible to wash Cyclospora oocysts off produce, especially produce that has lots of nooks and crannies, such as lettuce or raspberries. The parasite can also survive freezing.

The restaurant was cited by state health inspectors twice during June 2019. No inspection records were found on the Florida Department of Health website, but several news outlets obtained them. The restaurant was allegedly cited for improper food storage and cleanliness. The facility was never closed.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea that can stop and then recur without warning, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, nausea, fatigue, and increased gas. If you ate at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant in June 2019 and have been ill with these symptoms, see your doctor.

 

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