August 12, 2022

Cyclospora Illnesses Signal That the Season Has Begun With 61 Sick

Cyclospora illnesses signal that the season has begun with at least 61 people sick in 13 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Six people have been hospitalized. The case count by state was not reported, nor was the patient age range. Cases continue to be reported to government officials.

Cyclospora Illnesses Signal That the Season Has Begun With 61 Sick

Illnesses caused by this parasite are much more common in the spring and summer months in the United States. And there have been multiple cyclospora outbreaks in this country in the past six years. In the past, Cyclospora outbreaks have been linked to cilantro, mesclun lettuce, basil, snow peas, and raspberries.

There are also new cyclospora illnesses in Canada. At least 84 people in three provinces are ill, and four have been hospitalized.

In 2021, hundreds of people were sickened with this parasite, but no outbreak was solved. In 2020, a cyclospora outbreak linked to Fresh Express bagged salads sickened at least 701 people in 14 states. Thirty-eight people were hospitalized.

The parasite infects fresh produce that doesn’t undergo a kill step before people eat it. The oocyst uses the human body to reproduce and is excreted in feces. It contaminates produce and matures to becomes infectious again. The parasite is not spread person-to-person.

Unfortunately, many cases can’t be directly linked to an outbreak partly because there is no validated laboratory fingerprinting methods, such as whole genome sequencing that is used for bacteria, for this parasite. Public health officials use questionnaires to ask patients what they ate in the two week period before they got sick. If a commonality is found, such as a restaurant or a food product, the CDC and local and state partners work to see if the contaminated food is still available for testing.

This is the first monthly report for 2022. The cases were all acquired domestically on or after May 1, 2022. The 61 laboratory-confirmed cases were people who had no history of international travel during the two week period before symptom onset. Cyclospora is a parasite that is endemic to tropical regions of the globe, and until recently was rarely domestically acquired in this country.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include profuse and explosive diarrhea that can last for months. Patients can also suffer from abdominal cramps, gas, bloating, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, fever, and body aches. These symptoms can ease, and then return without warning. There is an effective treatment for this infection, but some people are allergic to it since it is sulfa-based. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this cyclospora outbreak.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a cyclospora infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores and food processors.

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