The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting a significant increase in cases of cyclosporiasis this summer across the country as compared to the same period last year.
According to a Health Alert Network published Monday, as of August 2, 2017, 206 cases of Cyclospora infections have been reported to CDC in persons who became infected in the United States and became ill on or after May 1, 2017. These cases have been reported from 27 states, most of which have reported relatively few cases. Eighteen cases reported hospitalization; no deaths have been reported.
The number of cases (206) reported in 2017, is higher than the number of cases reported by this date in 2016. As of August 3, 2016, 88 Cyclospora infections had been reported in persons who became infected in the United States and became ill on or after May 1, 2016.
LISTEN: Parasites 101: Cyclospora
At this time, no specific vehicle of interest has been identified, and investigations to identify a potential source of infection are ongoing. It is too early to say whether cases of Cyclospora infection in different states are related to each other and/or to the same food item(s).
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.