July 10, 2015 — Nearly 150 people in Texas have been sickened by the Cyclospora parasite and health officials warn that fresh produce imported from Mexico is likely to blame.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, about half of the cases were reported in Travis County and the vast majority occurred in the last two weeks. The likely culprits include fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, parsley, and mint.
A spokeswoman from the Travis/Austin County Health and Human Services Department said, “I think it (the produce) is predominantly from Mexico,”
No recalls have been issued yet. This is at least the third major outbreak of Cyclospora in Texas in the last three years. Many illnesses in Texas have been blamed on fresh cilantro imported from Puebla, Mexico.
Last year, over 200 people were sickened in a Cyclospora outbreak, with most cases reported in Texas in July 2014. In mid-2013, a cluster of outbreaks sickened 631 people in 25 states. That outbreak led to a recall for salad mix imported by Taylor Farms de Mexico. Cilantro from Mexico was also blamed on some illnesses in Texas.
The single-celled parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis is often blamed for diarrhea among travelers to tropical or subtropical regions, where it is endemic. Until recently, it was rare in the United States.
Symptoms of cyclosporiasis may include:
- Watery diarrhea, with frequent (sometimes explosive) bowel movements)
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach cramps/pain
- Increased gas
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body aches and headache
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