Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope. This parasite causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis. In the United States, foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce.
In Texas, the case count has risen to 93 since May and disease investigators are busy gathering information about the current illnesses as they attempt to determine whether there is a common source for the current outbreak.
Travis, Bexar and Harris counties have seen the most cases, all in double digits.
Long-lasting illnesses caused by the parasite, with symptoms like watery diarrhea, loss of appetite and fatigue, have been seen in various parts of the state and have prompted public health experts to advise health care providers and the public to be aware of the symptoms and pursue testing when needed.
Health officials recommend thoroughly washing all fresh produce, but that may not entirely eliminate the risk because Cyclospora can be very difficult to wash off. Cooking will kill the parasite. Infection is generally not transmitted directly from person-to-person.
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