In an update on the Texas cyclospora “surge” since June, the number of cases have increased by another dozen since the weekend, bringing the total to 136, according to health officials.

 

Cyclospora/CDC
Cyclospora/CDC

Though a source has yet to be identified, past outbreaks have been traced to fresh imported produce. DSHS encourages people to wash produce thoroughly, though that may not entirely eliminate the risk because Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off.

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 raresymptom.

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.

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