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Texas Reports Big Spike in Cyclosporiasis Cases

Public health officials in Tarrant County, Texas, which includes the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington areas, are investigating a sudden surge in Cyclosporiasis, an intestinal infection caused by a parasite that can be ingested via contaminated food or water.

The statewide number of cases hit 61 in the past month, with eight of them being in Tarrant County. This compares with only eight statewide cases of Cyclosporiasis in Texas from January through May of this year.

Officials are advising healthcare providers to watch for and test patients with symptoms such as diarrhea that has lasted more than a few days or diarrhea plus fatigue. Symptoms usually start two days to two weeks after the parasite is ingested, are often accompanied by intestinal pain, and can mimic the stomach flu.

Previous Cyclosporiasis outbreaks in the U.S. have been linked to imported fresh produce such as lettuce, salad mix, snow peas, raspberries, cilantro and basil.

“To reduce your risk, we recommend thoroughly washing produce before consumption. Produce that is cooked is not a concern. It’s the raw produce like cilantro and salads that can be a problem,” said Russell Jones, chief epidemiologist for Tarrant County Public Health.

Food Safety News

Texas Reports Big Spike in Cyclosporiasis Cases

Public health officials in Tarrant County, Texas, which includes the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington areas, are investigating a sudden surge in Cyclosporiasis, an intestinal infection caused by a parasite that can be ingested via contaminated food or water.

The statewide number of cases hit 61 in the past month, with eight of them being in Tarrant County. This compares with only eight statewide cases of Cyclosporiasis in Texas from January through May of this year.

Officials are advising healthcare providers to watch for and test patients with symptoms such as diarrhea that has lasted more than a few days or diarrhea plus fatigue. Symptoms usually start two days to two weeks after the parasite is ingested, are often accompanied by intestinal pain, and can mimic the stomach flu.

Previous Cyclosporiasis outbreaks in the U.S. have been linked to imported fresh produce such as lettuce, salad mix, snow peas, raspberries, cilantro and basil.

“To reduce your risk, we recommend thoroughly washing produce before consumption. Produce that is cooked is not a concern. It’s the raw produce like cilantro and salads that can be a problem,” said Russell Jones, chief epidemiologist for Tarrant County Public Health.

Food Safety News