The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, continues to release updates about the ongoing cyclospora outbreak. According to its report released Friday, more than 321 cases of cyclospora infections have been reported in several states and one city, including Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, New Jersey, Minnesota, Ohio, Florida, and New York City. Illinois and Kansas have also had one reported case each. However, it is possible the infections were acquired in one of those original reporting states. The addition of Florida, Missouri, New York City, and Arkansas bring the total number of states reporting infections up to 15.
According to the report, Iowa has the most reported cyclospora infections with 138 cases, followed by Texas with 71 cases and Nebraska with 70 cases. Florida joins the list of reporting states with 23 reports. The CDC is investigating cases in Texas and Iowa where international travel may have had a factor in acquisition of the infection.
Cyclospora, a single-celled parasite, causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis, marked by symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and fatigue, among other symptoms of stomach bugs.
Cyclospora infections tend to occur in people living in or traveling to the tropics and subtropic regions, where the parasite is endemic. It is usually spread when people ingest food or water contaminated with feces.
At least eighteen people have been reportedly hospitalized in three states as a result of the outbreak.
The CDC continues to cooperate with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and public health officials across multiple states to aid in the investigation of the source of the outbreak. The CDC defines outbreak cases as “laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora [infections] in [people] who became ill in June or July, 2013, and had no history of travel outside of the United States or Canada during the 14 days prior to onset of illness.”
The CDC has not found the source of the outbreak, but notes that “previous outbreak investigations have implicated various types of fresh produce.”
More cases are currently under investigation and will be published on the CDC website as they are confirmed.
The CDC and FDA advise the practice safe food handling, including thoroughly washing produce and hands to prevent a cyclospora infection. The avoidance of food or water contaminated with feces is also advised.