One day after issuing a health advisory due to a rash of cases of cyclosporiasis in the past week, the Texas Department of of State Health Services reported another 10 cases, bringing the total to 64.
Nearly half of the state’s cases (30) have been reported from Travis County.
In 2013, the United States saw a large outbreak of the parasitic infection with more than 600 cases and Texas saw nearly 300.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single celled coccidianparasite that is endemic in the United States and Canada.
The parasite causes watery diarrhea, nausea, anorexia, abdominal cramps and weight loss. Fever is a rare symptom.
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 infectionscan last from a few days to over a month.