Cyclospora Outbreak Hits Texas: 48 New Cases in One Week

First Posted: Jul 19, 2013 01:20 PM EDT

According to various reports, Texas became the third state this week with an unusually high number of cyclospora infections--a parasitic illness that has struck 48 people.

This infection, also known as cyclosporiasis, is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite called Cyclospora cayetanenis, according to the Mayo Clnic.

At this time, no one is certain where the infection started, but people pass the infection on through a parasite found in their stool. The way it is commonly caught is through contaminated food or drinking water, according to the Clinic.

Just earlier this week, Iowa and Nebraska announced that a combined total of 106 people in their states were infected with the intestinal illness. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Monday that the state had 71 cases of cyclosporiasis. Thirty-five cases of the infection were also reported in Nebraska as of Friday.

Texas officials announced on Thursday that they are currently investigating nearly 50 new cases of the cyclospora infections in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. However, officials note that they are still uncertain as to whether the outbreaks in Nebraska and Iowa are connected.

Iowa officials believe the outbreak could be links to possible contaminates in fresh produce that may have been transmitted through "raw vegetable product, according to CNN. Previous outbreaks of cyclospora have been caused by contaminated raspberries, basil and even lettuce.

Treatment for cyclospora infection is a combination antibiotic known as trimenthoprim-sulfamenthoxazole. For those that are unable to take the previous medication, some evidence suggests that ciprofloxacin or nitazoxanide is also effective.  

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