May 26, 2024

Cyclospora Outbreak in Georgia Reported; No Case Count

A cyclospora outbreak in Georgia has been reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District. There is no information about case counts, illness onset dates, if anyone has been hospitalized, or possible causes. Investigators do say that the investigation is ongoing and they expect the number of cases to increase.

Cyclospora Outbreak in Georgia Reported; No Case Count

Every summer in the United States for the past few years, there has been at least one cyclospora outbreak. The parasite is endemic to tropical regions, and cases used to be only from people who traveled to those areas. But now cyclospora outbreaks have been linked to produce grown in the United States. Last year, there were more than 1,000 cyclospora illnesses in this country. The outbreak was not solved.

The cyclospora oocyst uses the human intestinal tract to reproduce. It is excreted in feces. Then, the oocyst contaminates produce and becomes infectious as it matures. This parasite is not transmitted person-to-person.

Cyclospora cases in the past have been linked to fresh produce such as raspberries, snow peas, basil, mesclun lettuce, and cilantro. These items are eaten raw, without a heating “kill step,” so the parasite remains on the product. It is difficult, if not impossible, to rinse cyclospora off produce.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include explosive diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, bloating, and weight loss. Most people recover within a few weeks, but this infection can rebound. Treatment is with a sulfa-based drug.

If you have been experiencing those symptoms, see your doctor and ask for a cyclospora test. You may be part of this cyclospora outbreak in Georgia.

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