The Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health (HCPH), and the Fort Bend Health & Human Services (FBCHHS) have received reports of an increased number of Cyclospora infections within their jurisdictions and urge people to use caution this summer while cooking and spending time outdoors.
Cyclospora is a non-life-threatening gastrointestinal illness caused by an intestinal parasite. People can become infected by consuming contaminated food or water. In Texas, increased cases of Cyclosporiasis tend to occur seasonally between the months of April and August and symptoms tend to appear between two to 14 days. Cases have been associated with the consumption of fresh produce, including but not limited to fresh cilantro, raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun lettuce.
Most individuals recover with no significant health effect; however, those who are immunocompromised, infants, or elderly, may be more affected and potentially require hospitalization for treatment. It is important to note that the disease cannot be transmitted through direct person-to-person contact.
The health departments are investigating the cases and would like to remind people that some gastrointestinal illnesses can spread quickly, especially during the summer.
Here are some prevention tips:
- Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating, cutting, or cooking.
- Wash all cutting boards, utensils, and surfaces to avoid cross-contamination.
If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, please reach out to your healthcare provider.
Nationally, the CDC reports, as of June 20, 2023, a total of 210 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in people who had not traveled outside the United States during the 14 days before they got sick have been reported from 23 jurisdictions, including 22 states and New York City.
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