CDC: 358 People In 26 States Confirmed To Have Cyclosporiasis From Cilantro

Image courtesy of (Renee Rendler-Kaplan)

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration imposed a partial import ban on cilantro grown in Mexico after an outbreak of the parasitic gastrointestinal illness Cyclosporiasis was traced to specific fields and processing facilities in that country. So far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, government agencies have been able to confirm 358 cases of the illness, in 26 states.

One “confirmed” case of a foodborne illness usually represents more unconfirmed cases. Since Cyclosporiasis usually consists of lower-grade symptoms that can last for up to a month, and some infected people never show symptoms at all, most patients likely never visit a hospital or doctor’s office, and don’t have samples taken from which government authorities could match up the pathogens and confirm the infection.

The majority of people who were identified as part of the outbreak say that their symptoms started on or before May 1, 2015, and that they had not traveled internationally during the usual incubation period for the illness, which is about a week.

The largest clusters of the cilantro poops are based in Texas, Wisconsin, and Georgia, and the CDC was still receiving new reports from those areas as of July 30. The government’s best advice for consumers is for us to thoroughly wash all fresh produce that we use, as well as washing all utensils and surfaces with detergent and hot water after cooking, and to wash our hands with soap and hot water as well.

Symptoms of Cyclosporiasis include diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, fatigue, and gas. If you have diarrhea that lasts for three days or more, contact your health care provider. While most cases clear up on their own, there is a treatment for Cyclosporiasis.

Cyclosporiasis Outbreak Investigations — United States, 2015 [CDC]

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