The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, released its latest update on the cyclospora outbreak. According to its report released Tuesday, more than 372 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, Missouri and New York are reporting one case each that was likely acquired out of state, with Kansas reporting two cases that were possibly acquired out of state as well.
According to the report, Iowa has the most reported cyclospora infections with 143 cases, followed by Texas with 101 cases and Nebraska with 76 cases.
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 21 people have been reportedly hospitalized in three states as a result of the outbreak.
The CDC has been cooperating with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 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, and public health officials are continuing to pursue all leads. However, the CDC 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. Out of all of the cases, 34 have been confirmed in CDC laboratories.
The CDC and FDA advise to 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.