Cyclospora Parasite Prompts Public Health Investigation

  • Cyclospora Parasite Prompts Public Health Investigation

Cyclospora Parasite Prompts Public Health Investigation

Cyclosporiasis is caused by the cyclospora parasite.

So far, health officials have identified 56 illnesses due to Cyclospora since May, according to a statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Past outbreaks in the US have been associated with consumption of imported fresh produce, including fresh pre-packaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun greens.

The parasite is an internal illness, which people contract after consuming contaminated food or water. But in the United States, outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked with imported fresh produce, including raspberries, basil, snow peas, mesclun lettuce and cilantro. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. The symptoms, including diarrhea, can last from a few days to a few months. Symptoms can last for weeks or months and can recur. Doctors don't usually check for this infection; the diagnosis is made by submission of stool specimens for "Ova and Parasite" testing.

Texas issued a recent health advisory on June 21, 2018, requesting healthcare providers to test patients who have diarrhea lasting more than a few days or diarrhea accompanied by severe loss of appetite or fatigue.

"Health care providers should promptly report cases so that public health can investigate them and attempt to determine the source in order to head off future cases", the agency said. The infection is typically treated with a combination of two antibiotics, according to the CDC.