Cyclospora Outbreak Sickens Hundreds Across Midwest

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There’s a cyclospora outbreak that has spread from Iowa down as far as into Missouri and Arkansas, sickening hundreds of people in its wake.  As of Friday, there are 321 confirmed cases, with the majority being in Midwest and South.

What is behind the recent cyclospora outbreak?

Medical experts believe that the cyclospora bacteria that has caused the most recent outbreaks originated from produce that was contaminated by feces carrying the cyclospora bacteria.

Health officials don’t yet have the contaminated produce pinned down to any one farm or food distributor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasize the importance of washing your hands, fruits, and vegetables in lowering your risk  of contacting the cyclospora bacteria.

Cyclospora is spread by people eating food contaminated with feces. The invasive bacteria needs days to weeks after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person. It is not very contagious; the possibility of people to pass it to others is unlikli.

In late June in Iowa the first cases were reported in Iowa. Today, there are over 300 confirmed cases, with the majority being in  the Midwest and South.

An Ohio woman, 63, is among the people sickened in an outbreak of intestinal illness. The Ohio woman who was sickened lives in Lucas County, said Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Tessie Pollock. It has affected residents of 11 states so far.

According to Springfield Greene County Health Department spokesperson Mike Brothers the symptoms are:

Nausea, fatigue, body aches, diarrhea, flu like symptoms, things like that.”

Though 18 people reportedly have been hospitalized in three states, there have so far been no reports of death.

Brothers added:

That’s the good thing, we’re not talking about a deadly parasite here.”

Cyclospora is a parasite that is so small you need a microscope to see it, but it has been causing a a growing health concern in the Midwest and a couple of southern states. It is the bacteria causing the intestinal infection.

Ingesting food or water contaminated by feces carrying the parasite is how the cyclospora.

Brother stated:

This isn’t something that’s passed from person to person.”

How virulent is the cyclospora outbreak?

The good news about the cyclospora is that the infection is easily treated with antibiotics.

According to Dr. Barbara Herwaldt, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC:

The good news is that the infection is easily treatable with readily available antibiotics.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, about 1 in 6 Americans — 48 million people — get sick from a food-borne illness; 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.

Reduce your risk of food borne illness with a fruit and veggie cleansing spray. Just spray, rub and rinse under water for about a minute.

Written by: Douglas Cobb

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