September 21, 2020

Recent Cyclospora Outbreaks in U.S. Sicken Thousands Linked to Produce

It’s just like clockwork. Every summer, at least one cyclospora outbreak is announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These outbreaks are always linked to fresh produce that does not go through a kill step such as heating before consumers eat it. Let’s look back at the recent cyclospora outbreaks in the U.S.

Recent Cyclospora Outbreaks in U.S. Sicken Thousands

First, Cyclospora cayetanensis is a microscopic parasite that uses a human host to reproduce and travel. When a person ingests a major oocyst, it breaks apart in the intestine, causes damage, and uses human cells to reproduce. It is excreted in feces, where it matures in the environment, contaminates food through waste in the fields, contamination along the food chain, or contaminated irrigation water, and the process repeats.

Cyclospora Outbreaks in 2020

The newest cyclospora outbreak is linked to bagged garden salads that were sold in the Midwest under brand names ALDI, Jewel-Osco, and Hy Vee. Fresh Express allegedly produced the salads for those private brands. All of the salads were recalled in one week in June 2020.

At least 122 people in 7 states, including Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin are sick in this outbreak. Nineteen people have been hospitalized. And the FDA thinks that more products in more states may be associated with this outbreak. The investigation is ongoing.

Cyclospora Outbreaks in 2019

Last year, cyclosporiasis caused the most food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S. There were six separate outbreaks that sickened 2,400 people.

  • An outbreak associated with workplace cafeterias in Virginia sickened at least 39 people. The food or beverage water source of these illnesses was not discovered.
  • A cyclosporiasis outbreak at Cooper’s Hawk restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida sickened 80 to 100 people. Officials did not identify a source for the contamination.
  • A Minnesota cyclospora outbreak was associated with restaurants in various areas of the state. Officials think that basil was the source of the parasite. At least 35 people who ate at restraints in Rochester, Duluth, and Hermantown were sickened.
  • At least 90 people were sickened with cyclosporiasis in New York City. Officials did not name a specific food or restaurant in this outbreak.
  • An outbreak in Boston sickened more than 100 people in the summer of 2019. The cause was not announced.
  • And a cyclospora outbreak linked to fresh basil imported from Siga Logistics de RL de V located in Morales, Mexico sickened 241 people.

Cyclospora Outbreaks in 2018

In 2018, there were two major cyclosporiasis outbreaks that sickened hundreds of Americans. All in all there were 2,299 people in 33 states who contracted this infection that year.

  • A cyclospora outbreak that was linked to McDonald’s salads sickened 511 people in 16 states. Officials said that they found the parasite in an unused package of romaine lettuce and carrot mix that was produced by Fresh Express.
  • Pre packaged vegetable trays produced by Del Monte sickened 250 people in 4 states. People bought those trays at Kwik Trip convenience stores in the upper Midwest. Del Monte Fresh Produce recalled their 6 ounce, 12 ounce, and 28 once vegetable trays that contained broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and dill dip.
  • A cyclospora outbreak at Sonora Grill in Minneapolis, Minnesota sickened 17 people. Officials did not identify the contaminated food or beverage.

Cyclospora Outbreaks 2017

  • The number one food poisoning outbreak in 2017 was a cyclospora outbreak that sickened 1,054 people. A contaminated food was never identified.
  • A cyclospora outbreak in Texas sickened 259 people. Officials did not determine a common source for the illnesses.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Unfortunately, not much. This parasite is too small to see with the naked eye. It doesn’t change the appearance, texture, smell, or aroma of food. And it is almost impossible to wash it off produce. Even chemical disinfectants may not destroy it. So watch for recalls and outbreak notices.

And if you do start experiencing the symptoms of cyclosporiasis, which include explosive diarrhea, weight loss, gas, bloating, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, see your doctor. A test for cyclospora has to be specially ordered, so now that you are informed you can ask for one. You may be part of the recent cyclospora outbreaks in U.S.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a cyclospora infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202. These lawyers have filed many cyclospora lawsuits on the behalf of clients over the year.

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