August 14, 2022

Will There Be a Cyclospora Outbreak in the U.S. This Summer?

Will there be a cyclospora outbreak in the United States this summer? There have been multiple cyclospora outbreaks in the past nine years, including in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. This year may be no exception.

Will There Be a Cyclospora Outbreak in the U.S. This Summer?

In the past, Cyclospora outbreaks have been linked to fresh produce, including cilantro, raspberries, basil, mesclun, vegetable trays, bagged salad mixes, and snow peas. The cyclospora parasite is transmitted through human feces. The oocyst must mature, or sporulate, outside of the body before it becomes infectious. This infection is not passed person-to-person.

It is very difficult to protect yourself against this parasite, since it can cling to produce, especially produce such as leafy greens and herbs, and is not easily washed or rinsed off. And since most of the foods it contaminates are eaten without being heated, there is no kill step to destroy the parasite.

History of Cyclospora Outbreaks

In 2013, at least 631 people in 25 states were sickened with cyclosporiasis, the illness caused by this parasite. Officials believe there was more than one outbreak. One was linked to a salad mix produced by Taylor Farms de Mexico, and the other was linked to fresh cilantro imported from Mexico.

In 2014, an outbreak sickened at least 304 people in 19 states. Most of the cases lived in Texas. Traceback evidence showed that some illnesses in that states were linked to fresh cilantro from Puebla, Mexico.

In 2015, at least 546 people were sickened in 31 states. Some clusters were linked to restaurants in Texas, Wisconsin, and Georgia. Cilantro was identified as a suspect vehicle.

In 2016, at least 384 people in 25 states were sickened with cyclosporiasis. No food was identified in that outbreak.

In 2017, at least 1065 people in 40 states contracted cyclosporiasis. Again, no specific vehicle of interest was identified.

In 2018, a cyclospora outback that was linked to Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays containing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip sickened at least 250 people in four states. That product, sold at Kwik Trip stores, was recalled. Officials were not able to determine which individual component of that product was contaminated.

Also in 2018, an outbreak was linked to salads purchased from McDonald’s. At least 511 people in 16 states were sickened. The salads were distributed to McDonald’s by the Fresh Express facility located in Streamwood, Illinois.

In 2019, an outbreak was linked to fresh basil from Siga Logistics de RL de VC in Morelos, Mexico. Overall, there were more than 2400 people sickened that summer, from six separate outbreaks, most in restaurants.

In 2020, at least 701 people got sick after consuming bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express, again produced at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois facility. More than 90 different types and brands of salad mixes were recalled.

Overall, in 2020, there were 1241 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in 34 states that were not all linked to a specific product. This number included the Fresh Express bagged salad outbreak. At last 90 people were hospitalized. Multiple outbreaks were associated with different restaurants or events.

In 2021, there were at least 1020 cases of cyclosporiasis reported in 36 states, with 70 hospitalizations. And once again, no one food was linked to these illnesses, although there were restaurant clusters and leafy greens were suspected.

Will There Be a Cyclospora Outbreak in 2022?

Odds are there will be a cyclospora outbreak in 2022 if this trend continues. These outbreaks are usually seasonal and cases begin to mount in May and June.

The symptoms of a cyclospora infection include gas, bloating, fatigue, weight loss, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea that is explosive, unpredictable, and frequent. These symptoms usually start 2 to 5 days after someone eats food contaminated with the cyclospora oocyst. And patients can be sick for weeks and months if they are not treated.

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 612-338-0202.

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