Canadian health officials reported Saturday the investigation of an outbreak of cyclosporiasis, an intestinal infection caused by the protozoan parasite, Cyclospora cayetanensis.
They say that 83 people became sick between May 9 and July 18, 2015. The breakdown by province is as follows: British Columbia (3), Alberta (1), Ontario (74), and Quebec (5).
The source of this outbreak is not yet known and the investigation by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada continues.
In the US, a total of 384 ill persons from 26 states with confirmed Cyclospora infection were reported to CDC in 2015. Cluster investigations in Wisconsin and Texas have preliminarily identified imported Mexican cilantro as a suspect vehicle. Investigations are ongoing to identify specific food item(s) linked to the cases that are not part of the identified clusters.
Previous foodborne illness outbreaks of Cyclospora, in Canada and US have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, such as pre-packaged salad mix, basil, cilantro, berries, mesclun lettuce and snow peas.
It is not clear if there is a link between the US and Canadian cases.
People infected with Cyclospora can experience a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, while others feel as though they have a bad case of stomach flu. Few people get seriously ill.
Most people develop the following symptoms within one week after being infected with Cyclospora: Watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, abdominal bloating, increased gas, nausea and fatigue.
Cyclospora illness can last from a few days to several weeks, if left untreated. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times.