August 20, 2013 — Today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 593 people in 20 states have been diagnosed with food poisoning caused by the Cyclospora parasite. Unfortunately, many of these people were sick for weeks before they were diagnosed. The parasite causes debilitating watery diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, and abdominal pain. Without treatment, these symptoms can last for months.
The problem is that outbreaks of Cyclospora infection (also known as “cyclosporiasis”) are rare, and a diagnosis can only be made after doctors suspect Cyclospora and specifically request special laboratory tests that are not routine. The patient must then give stool samples on several days. Finally, a microbiologist must look for microscopic oocysts, which are immature parasites. These oocysts are tiny and easily overlooked.
Earlier this month, ABC News reported the story of Donna Heller, a 54 year-old teacher from Crowley, Texas who was infected in the outbreak. She said:
“I had to wait three weeks to find out what was wrong. It was very frustrating. I found myself in tears a lot of the time.”
Heller first developed symptoms on June 26, including diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and bloating. The symptoms relapsed (went away and returned), which is characteristic of cyclosporiasis. Her doctor thought it was a stomach virus and failed to diagnose the disease or prescribe antibiotics. A few days later, she tried to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, but was told she couldn’t get an appointment until August 12.
Heller heard about the Cyclospora outbreak and visited an urgent care clinic. They ordered blood tests, which were negative for the parasite. They prescribed antibiotics that did not cure her infection.
Finally, Heller was contacted by officials from the CDC, who informed her that she was infected with Cyclospora. Investigators interviewed her to find out what foods she had eaten about a month ago. Unfortunately, it was difficult to pinpoint where she became infected because she ate many salads at restaurants in the area.
Do I have a Texas Cyclospora Lawsuit?
The Texas trial lawyers with The Schmidt Firm, PLLC are currently accepting Cyclospora and/or Cyclosporiasis lawsuits throughout the entire state of Texas. If you or somebody you know was sickened after eating at Olive Garden or Red Lobster, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Food Poisoning Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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