As the investigation into the spike of cyclospora cases in Texas during the past month or so continues, the number of cases continue to rise.

As of July 29,  the Texas Department of State Health Services has reported 110 cases, up from 92 late last week. Dallas County reported the most cases with 21.

Four Cyclospora oocysts from fresh stool stained using a modified acid-fast stain. Image/CDC (DPDx)
Four Cyclospora oocysts from fresh stool stained using a modified acid-fast stain.
Image/CDC (DPDx)

Though a source has yet to be identified, past outbreaks have been traced to fresh imported produce. DSHS encourages people to wash produce thoroughly, though that may not entirely eliminate the risk because Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off. 

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single celled coccidian parasite that is endemic in the United States and Canada.

The parasite causes watery diarrhea, nausea, anorexia, abdominal cramps and weight loss. Fever is a raresymptom.

People get infected with Cyclospora through foodborne or waterborne means. Swimming in contaminated water is also a way someone can get infected.

Cyclospora has been implicated in numerous outbreaks in North America with contaminated fruits and vegetables being the common culprits (raspberries, basil and lettuce all washed with contaminated water), especially those imported from developing nations.

All fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before eating though this does not guarantee safety. Cyclospora is resistant to chlorination.

Treatment is usually successful after a course of the antibiotic Septra. Patients with HIV or otherwise immunocompromised usually require higher dosages for a longer period of time. Untreated infections can last from a few days to over a month.

Last year, the US experienced a multistate outbreak of the parasite that affected 631 individuals.

Cyclospora also received a lot of attention in 1996 when imported raspberries from Guatemala were linked to 1,465 cases in 20 states, the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

Cyclosporiasis Cases by County for 2014, as of July 29

County of Residence
Cases
Aransas 1
Bexar 5
Collin 4
Dallas 21
Denton 2
El Paso 1
Ellis 3
Erath 2
Galveston 1
Harris 8
Hays 1
Hidalgo 1
Hunt 1
Jefferson 1
Kaufman 3
Kendall 1
Lee 1
Lynn 1
Montgomery 1
Parker 2
Rockwall 1
San Patricio 2
Somervell 1
Sutton 1
Tarrant 11
Travis 2
Trinity 1
Webb 1
Williamson 3
Pending or Unknown 25
Total 110