January 19, 2019

Cyclospora Parasite Prompts Public Health Investigation

06 July 2018, 02:43 | Silvia Roy

Cyclospora Parasite Prompts Public Health Investigation

Cyclospora Parasite Prompts Public Health Investigation

In recent years, Texas has had several outbreaks of Cyclospora tied to cilantro.

And the summer of 2018 continues this unfortunate trend.

An investigation is underway after at least 56 people in Texas got sick due to the parasite. In 2013, Texas had 351 cases, more than any other state during a year when reports of the illness were up nationwide.

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This infection is generally not transmitted directly from person-to-person.

Cyclosporiasis is caused by the cyclospora parasite. Health care providers are also asked to test patients who have been suffering from diarrhea lasting for more than a few days, or diarrhea that comes with fatigue and severe loss of appetite.

Diagnosis of cyclosporiasis can be made by submission of stool specimens for "Ova and Parasite" testing, with additional specific orders for Cyclospora identification. Fruits and veggies like cilantro, pre-packed salad, basil and raspberries were listed among the most susceptible to the parasite. That outbreak was linked to Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays containing broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots and dill dip. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Symptoms may come and go multiple times over a period of weeks or months.

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Past U.S. outbreaks have been associated with people eating imported fresh produce.

Texas has issued a Cyclospora Health Advisory to all healthcare providers in the state. The symptoms, including diarrhea, can last from a few days to a few months.

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