In an update on the Cyclospora situation in Illinois, The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports that as of today, 458 cases of cyclosporiasis in counties across Illinois, with people becoming ill starting in mid-May.
Health officials report 178 Illinois cases reported eating salads from McDonald’s in the days before becoming ill and 135 Illinois cases are linked to a private event held at the Evanston Golf Club.
Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. People can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite; it is not transmitted directly from one person to another person. The most common symptom of cyclosporiasis is watery diarrhea, which can be profuse. Other common symptoms include anorexia, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, flatulence, abdominal cramping, and myalgia; vomiting and low-grade fever may also occur.
Symptoms of cyclosporiasis begin an average of 7 days (range: 2 days to ≥2 weeks) after ingestion of the parasite. If untreated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer, and may have a remitting-relapsing course. The treatment of choice for cyclosporiasis is trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX). No effective alternative treatments have yet been identified for persons who are allergic to or cannot tolerate TMP/SMX, thus observation and symptomatic care is recommended for these patients.