The number of cyclosporiasis cases in Texas increased by another six today, bringing the total to 170, according to state health officials.
Travis County has reported 74 cases, or 43 percent of the state’s total. Dallas County is the only other county to report cases in the double digits (14).
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 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 infections can last from a few days to over a month.