Cyclosporiasis – USA

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A total of 509 people in the United States have been laboratory confirmed with Cyclospora infections related to salad products.

This outbreak is currently affecting 8 states: Illinois (151), Iowa (160), Kansas (5), Minnesota (63), Missouri (46), Nebraska (48), North Dakota (6), and Wisconsin (30).

Illnesses started on dates ranging from 11 May 2020 to 1 Jul 2020. Ill people range in age from 11 to 92 years with a median age of 60, and 53% are female.

Of 506 people with available information, 33 people (7%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks.

Evidence continues to indicate that bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express is a likely source of this outbreak.

More information about the recalled products can be found on the CDC website.

Photo: Cyclospora cayetanensis parasite.

Cyclosporiasis is a disease caused by infection with a pathogenic parasite transmitted by feces or feces-contaminated food and water. Outbreaks have been reported due to contaminated fruits and vegetables.

An infected person begins to experience severe watery diarrhea, bloating, fever, stomach cramps, and muscle aches about 1 to six weeks after eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

After about 6 weeks the disease becomes self limiting, but without treatment relapses may occur.

To prevent transmission, food should be cooked thoroughly and drinking water from streams should be avoided.

The first recorded cases of cyclosporiasis in humans were as recent as 1977, 1978, and 1979. They were reported by Ashford, a British parasitologist who discovered three cases while working in Papua New Guinea.

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