Friday, 16 November, 2018

56 people sick with parasite in Texas outbreak

Anna Jefferson | 06 July, 2018, 02:45

Last year, there were 319 cases of cyclosporiasis in Texas.

Texas health officials are trying to determine whether 56 cases of people getting sick from the parasite Cyclospora are related.

Texas has reported multiple outbreaks linked to cilantro.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. This parasite is ingested when contaminated water containing the sporulated organism gets onto fresh produce. Fruits and veggies like cilantro, pre-packed salad, basil and raspberries were listed among the most susceptible to the parasite. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. "These outbreaks happen in the summer because that's the season for these produce items". "Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms".

Healthcare providers and laboratories are required to report confirmed cyclosporiasis cases to their respective local health department. The symptoms, including diarrhea, can last from a few days to a few months.

Consumers can thoroughly wash all fresh produce before eating it, but the parasite can cling to rough surfaces of produce, such as lettuce leave and raspberries, and is hard to remove. Cooking however, will kill the parasite. However, the infection typically isn't spread directly from person to person, because once the parasite is passed in stool, it needs to spend at least one to two weeks in the environment (outside the body) before it can infect another person, the CDC says.

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