June 17, 2024

The Rise of Cyclospora

Food Safety attorneys at Food Poisoning Bulletin underwriter, Pritzker Hageman, reported that the Summer of 2018 was one of their busiest ever because of the sheer volume of Cyclospora victims needing their legal help. However they state that, despite Cyclospora related illnesses being so prevalent in the summer months, when they mention it, they are usually met with the question: "So...what is Cyclospora?" Cyclospora is a protozoan parasite that causes severe gastroenteritis in humans called cyclosporiasis. There’s a reason that Cyclospora doesn’t have the same household name that more common bacterial pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli do: it hasn’t been causing illnesses in the continental United States for nearly as long. The parasite Cyclospora was first described by Dr. … [Read more...]

FDA Notes Decline in Cyclospora Cases

The FDA has released information about the decline of Cyclospora cases in the U.S. in 2016 when compared to 2015, 2014, and 2013. FDA claims that its activities, including import alerts and testing of imported products, have contributed to that decline. In each of the last three summers, there have been huge cyclosporiasis outbreaks in this country that have been linked to imported produce. As a result of traceback investigation by the government from 2013 to 2015, the FDA inspected farms and packing houses in Puebla, Mexico and found conditions that may cause contamination of cilantro and other produce with human feces. The FDA implemented an Import Alert for fresh cilantro from the state of Puebla, Mexico as a result of these investigations. Cilantro imported from this region … [Read more...]

Canadian Cyclospora Cases Now at 87

The Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting that there are now 87 cases of cyclosporiasis in that country, up from 83 a few days ago. The case count by province is:  British Columbia (4), Alberta (1), Ontario (77), and Quebec (5). Two people have been hospitalized; no deaths have been reported. No source for this outbreak has been identified, but the investigation is ongoing. Previous outbreaks of Cyclospora have been linked to basil, cilantro, pre-packaged salad mix, berries, mesclun lettuce, and snow peas. No multi-jurisdicitonal outbreaks have been linked to produce grown in Canada. A Cyclospora outbreak in the United States has sickened 476 people in 29 states. Some of those illnesses are linked to fresh cilantro imported from the Puebla region of Mexico. Those who are … [Read more...]

Texas Has 237 Cases of Cyclospora; Possible Link to Cilantro

The Texas Department of State Health Services has received reports of 237 cases of cyclosporiasis from around Texas this year. Outbreaks in the past have been associated with imported fresh produce. Some of these illnesses may be linked to cilantro imported from the Puebla area of Mexico. The Food and Drug Administration has placed an import ban on cilantro from that region, since they suspect it is contaminated with the Cyclospora parasite. Cyclosporiasis is caused by consuming water or food contaminated with the Cyclospora oocyst. Symptoms of this illness include explosive and watery diarrhea, which can last for months, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor … [Read more...]

Texas Cyclospora Outbreak Increases to 121

The outbreak of cyclosporiasis in Texas has increased to 121, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. One hundred nine cases have been reported in the last two weeks. This illness is caused by the Cyclospora parasite. Most cases are in Travis county with 55. Eight are sick in Williamson county, six are sick in Dallas county, five in Harris county, and four in Hays county. Cyclosporiasis ia an intestinal illness caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the parasite. The main symptom is watery diarrhea that can last for months. Other symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever. Past outbreaks have been linked to fresh produce, including raspberries, basil, snow peas, … [Read more...]

Texas Issues Cyclospora Health Advisory; 54 Sick

A surge in reports of Cyclospora infections has prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services to issue a health advisory and launch an investigation. There have been 54 cases of the parasitic illness so far this year, including 42 just in the last week. Cyclosporiasis is an illness that affects the intestines. It is caused by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the parasite. Symptoms include watery diarrhea that can last a few months, loss of appetite, fatigue weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever. Profuse diarrhea can last for months and can relapse. Public health officials recommend that people thoroughly wash fresh produce before eating it. Fresh produce has been the carrier of the parasite in the past, but … [Read more...]

CDC Mum on Hundreds of Cyclospora Infections

Cyclospora, a parasite associated with travel to tropical climates, typically sickens about 150 Americans each year. So, last summer when spikes in cases began appearing, health officials took note. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was not the first to report the 2013 outbreaks, which eventually sickened 631 people in 25 states. The agency lagged weeks behind various state health departments and media outlets in its announcement of the outbreaks. Deja vu when cyclospora cases began to spike again this summer. Only this time the agency’s silence can be measured in months, not weeks. The CDC has not made an announcement about the outbreak and has not responded to an inquiry made by Food Poisoning Bulletin two weeks ago to determine what, if any, role it is playing in … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Lawsuit Roundup – Iowa and Nebraska

Several lawsuits have been filed on behalf of victims of the Cyclospora outbreak that has sickened over 600 people in 22 states. The cases in Iowa and Nebraska are linked to lettuce salad served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants that was supplied by Taylor Farms de Mexico, according to the CDC. Below is a roundup of the Iowa and Nebraska lawsuits filed to date. Iowa Cyclospora Lawsuits At least 2 Cyclospora lawsuits have been filed in Iowa, both in the United Stated District Court for the District of Northern Iowa. The defendants (companies sued) in both Iowa lawsuits are Darden Corporation, the owner of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other restaurants, and Taylor Fresh Foods, the owner of Taylor Farms de Mexico. One Iowa plaintiff (person who is suing) ate at the … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Outbreak Questionnaire Asks if Patient Ate at Subway, Olive Garden, Red Lobster

Health officials are still investigating the cause of an outbreak of Cyclospora infections (cyclosporiasis) that has sickened people in 17 states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York (including New York City), Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. One tool investigators are using is outbreak questionnaires. Outbreak victims answer the questions. The answers are then analyzed to determine if there is any food or location that connects the illnesses. In Iowa and Nebraska, health officials found a link between Taylor Farms salad mix served at restaurants and the illnesses. The FDA said this salad mix was served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in those states. Cyclospora victims … [Read more...]

CDC Chronicles Decades of Surveillance Over Cyclospora in Food

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday it has investigated Cyclospora outbreaks over the past two decades -- a surveillance record that adds to the credibility of the agency's report that the current outbreak of Cyclospora in Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Florida and elsewhere is associated with bagged salad. The CDC chronicled its work identifying outbreaks of cyclosporiasis  in its latest Morbitity and and Mortality Weekly Report. CDC, in collaboration with state and local public health authorities, analyzes each reported case for epidemiologic evidence of linkage to other cases to facilitate rapid identification and investigation of outbreaks. U.S. clusters of cases have been documented almost every year since 1995, the agency said. For the period 1997 to 2008, the CDC … [Read more...]

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