Cyclospora is a rare parasite that causes a lengthy gastrointestinal illness. As of August 9, 2013 (5pm EDT), the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been notified of 514 cases of Cyclospora infections from 17 states, as shown in the map above. At least 30 people reportedly have been hospitalized in five states.
So far, only two states, Nebraska and Iowa have released information regarding investigations into the origination of the infections. In both cases, the Cyclospora infections are linked to prepackaged salad mix. Steven Mandernach, chief of the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), said, “The evidence points to a salad mix containing iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as carrots and red cabbage as the source of the outbreak reported in Iowa and Nebraska.”
The traceback investigation conducted by the FDA identified Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., a processor of foodservice salads, as the source, but a recall has not been issued.
FDA’s investigation has not implicated consumer packages sold in grocery stores. However, as a result of the current investigation FDA is increasing its surveillance efforts on green leafy products exported to the U.S. from Mexico. Further, it is not yet clear whether the cases reported from other states are all part of the same outbreak. The investigation of increased cases of cyclosporiasis in other states continues.
Symptoms of cyclospora include diarrhea that can last weeks to months, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, intestinal gas, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and low-grade fever. It can take more than a week for the first symptoms to appear after ingesting the contaminated food.
People experiencing symptoms should see a physician for diagnosis and treatment.