October 26, 2016

In Canada, Cyclospora Outbreak Grows to Include 61 Cases

In Canada, a Cyclospora outbreak has grown to include 61 cases. Health officials have not yet identified the food source of the outbreak, but imported produce is  suspected. A parasite native to tropical climates, Cyclospora is not commonly found in Canada or the U.S. Often illnesses are travel-related or linked to imported produce such as berries, salads greens, and peas. In this outbreak, the 61 cases were reported between May and July from: British Columbia (1), Alberta (2), Ontario (52), and Quebec (6). One person was hospitalized. The outbreak occurs as more than 150 British travelers to resorts in Cancun, Mexico picked up the parasite while vacationing and as Texas battles a Cyclospora outbreak for the fourth straight summer. A food source has not been identified, but the … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Flashback: Cyclospora Produce Outbreaks

Produce from Mexico contaminated with Cyclospora has caused illness outbreaks that sickened hundreds of Americans in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2013, some of the illnesses were linked to tainted bagged salads, in 2014 and 2015 illnesses were linked to contaminated cilantro. Cyclospora is a parasite that lives in subtropical climates. The hallmark of an infection, called cyclosporiasis, is profuse, often explosive, diarrhea that can last for 70 days. Other cyclosporiasis symptoms, which can also last 70 days, include abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms. A 31-state cyclospora outbreak that sickened 546 was the second-largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2015. Some … [Read more...]

Source of Most Cyclospora Cases in Current Outbreak Unknown

A cyclospora outbreak that sickened 304 people in 19 states this summer has gone largely unsolved. Cilantro from Mexico was identified as the source of the 133 cases in Texas, but the source of the 171 cases in the remaining 18 states has not been identified. Similarly, in a 2013 outbreak, a food source for of most of the 643 cases of cyclospora reported in 25 states was never identified. In both outbreaks, cilantro imported from Puebla Mexico was identified as the food source for cases in Texas. This year, 133 people in Texas contracted infections from eating food contaminated with the parasite, last year, 270 Texans got cyclosporiasis from contaminated cilantro. Cyclospora is a parasite normally found in tropical or sub-tropical regions. If ingested in its mature state, the … [Read more...]

Cyclsospora Sickens Dozens in NY

Dozens of New Yorkers have contracted parasitic infections this summer from contaminated food. At least 29 cases of cyclospora infection have been reported in New York since June.  Nineteen of the cases were reported in the city, 10 throughout the rest of the state. Other states have also reported spikes in cases of cyclosporiasis, the infection caused by cyclospora, a rare parasite normally associated with travel to tropical regions. Since June, roughly 300 cases of cyclosporiasishave been reported from more than a dozen states including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas and Washington.  Health authorities have not yet identified a food source in any of the affected states, nor have they been able to … [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 Sickens 160 in Texas

At least 160 people in Texas have contracted cyclospora infections from an unknown food source, according to the latest update from the Texas Department of State Health Services.  A surge in cases of cyclosporiasis has been reported in 18 other states including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.  Cyclospora, a parasite normally associated with tropical or subtropical climates, sickened 631 people in 2013, hospitalizing 49. Produce imported from Mexico was identified as the source of most of those illnesses. Cyclospora is transmitted via the fecal-oral route, meaning microscopic amounts of fecal matter from an infected person contaminate … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Sickens 155 in Texas

Cyclospora has sickened at least 155 people in Texas since mid-June, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Health officials have not yet determined the food source behind the outbreak. Past outbreaks have been linked to fresh produce including raspberries, snow peas, basil, cilantro, mesclun and salad. Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off, but washing produce under cold running water and then drying it is one of the best ways to reduce contamination from parasites and bacteria. The cyclospora  parasite is transmitted when an infected person passes immature oocysts in their stools which then contact food. If the oocysts are ingested in their immature state, they do not cause illness. However, if they have a chance to mature while on food and are then ingested, … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Sickens A Dozen in Massachusetts

At least a dozen people in Massachusetts were stricken with cycslospora infections in July, according to the state's Department of Public Health. Typically, less than five cases are reported annually in that state. Health authorities don't know what food source has been contaminated with the parasite which is normally associated with travel to tropical or subtropical regions. In the past, cyclospora outbreaks have been linked to imported produce items including , snow peas, basil, cilantro, mesclun and salad. Massachusetts is one of several states experiencing a cyclospora outbreak for the second straight year. Last summer, outbreaks in 25 states sickened 631 people. This summer, at least 12 states have reported spikes in cases of cyclsporiasis. Symptoms of an infection include … [Read more...]

How Cyclospora Parasite Gets on Food, Causes Illness

Cyclospora, a single-celled parasite that can cause months of illness, is considered a rare parasite in the United States, but for folks in some states its becoming a little too familiar. Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee and Texas have had cyclospora outbreaks for two straight summers. Mayland, Montana and Oregon missed last summer's outbreaks that sickened at least 631 people, but they are getting to know about the little bug this summer as they investigate spikes in reported illnesses. So, how is this rare parasite, normally associated with tropical climates, making its was onto our food an into the headlines? Cyclospora is transmitted when an infected person passes immature oocysts in their stools. If these oocysts make … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Can Survive Freezing Temps

Although cyclospora is associated with subtropical and tropical climates, the hardy parasite can survive periods of freezing temperatures. Killing cyclospora with cold temperatures requires that it be frozen for 24 to 48 hours at temperatures between 24.8˚ F and -4˚F  or lower, according to the Guide for Foodborne Pathogens. At freezing temperatures above 25˚ F,  cyclospora can survive. That was was the case in June 2000, when an outbreak in Philadelphia was linked to raspberries in a wedding cake. After illnesses were reported and stool specimens from wedding guests collected and tested positive for the parasite, epidemiological testing confirmed the presence of cyclospora in the cake. Raspberries imported from Guatemala were the only produce ingredient used to make the wedding cake. … [Read more...]

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