According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 56 people have confirmed cases of infections from Cyclospora parasites.
Texas has issued a Cyclospora Health Advisory to all healthcare providers in the state.
Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness often caused by consuming food or water contaminated by the Cyclospora parasite. "There were hundreds of cases of cyclosporiasis last year in Texas and in the years before". Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements.
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Texas health officials have warned about an outbreak of illness that has so far sickened dozens of people in the lone star state. But in the United States, outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked with imported fresh produce, including raspberries, basil, snow peas, mesclun lettuce and cilantro. If anyone presents with diarrhea that lasts more than a few days, or diarrhea that is accompanied by fatigue or weight loss, they should be checked for the parasite. Other symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, bloating, abdominal cramps, increased gas, vomiting, nausea, and low fever. Symptoms may come and go multiple times over a period of weeks or months.
Anyone experiencing symptoms is asked to contact his or her doctor for treatment.
Everyone is urged to thoroughly wash all fresh produce before they consume it, but officials warn that may not entirely eliminate the risk because Cyclospora can be very hard to wash off. Cooking however, will kill the parasite.