July 30, 2014 — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says 202 cases of food poisoning linked to the Cyclospora parasite are under investigation.
More than half of the cases were reported in Texas. The Texas Department of Health reported at least 110 cases as of July 29, with about one-quarter reported in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Health officials warned:
“Though a source has yet to be identified, past outbreaks have been traced to fresh imported produce. DSHS encourages people to wash produce thoroughly, though that may not entirely eliminate the risk because Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off.”
Cyclosporiasis is a gastrointestinal illness that is caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis, a single-celled parasite that is transmitted through food or water that is contaminated with feces. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea, weight-loss, and fatigue, which can last for months without treatment. Special, non-routine tests are needed to diagnose the infection.
Until recently, most cases were seen in travelers to South America. Outbreaks are uncommon, but they have been traced to basil, raspberries, mesclun lettuce, snow peas, and fresh produce imported from subtropical countries.
Last year, an outbreak of cyclosporiasis sickened hundreds of people, including over 350 in Texas. Health officials traced the outbreak to cilantro and pre-packaged salad mix that was imported from Mexico.
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