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New Texas Illnesses Bring Cyclospora Case Count to 469

An increase of 44 cases in Texas over the weekend has brought the number of confirmed illnesses from recent Cyclospora outbreaks to 469, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

At least 171 Texans have fallen ill with Cyclospora since early June. Texas health department spokeswoman Christine Mann told Food Safety News investigators are still not sure if the Texas illnesses are connected to the 232 illnesses in Iowa and Nebraska that have been traced back to Taylor Farms salad served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster, both owned by Darden Restaurants.

According to a report on NBC Nightly News, a Texas woman has filed a lawsuit against Darden after allegedly falling ill from eating at Olive Garden. A spokesperson for Darden told NBC that its Texas restaurants use a different salad supplier than Taylor, which supplies to restaurants in Iowa, Nebraska and possibly other states.

Darden representatives have not responded to repeated inquiries from Food Safety News.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention most recently updated its outbreak case count on August 5. The case count by state is as follows:

Arkansas (2 cases), Connecticut (1), Florida (25), Georgia (4), Illinois (5), Iowa (148), Kansas (3), Louisiana (3), Minnesota (1), Missouri (2), Nebraska (84), New Jersey (1), New York (6), Ohio (1), Texas (171) and Wisconsin (12).

There is a high likelihood that many of the illnesses in states with small case counts were contracted during travel to other states.

Cyclospora is a single-celled parasite often associated with contaminated fresh produce. Symptoms can take several days or weeks to appear and include watery diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, nausea and stomach cramps.

© Food Safety News
  • Mike

    Doesn’t it seem unlikely that there are two independent outbreaks of Cyclospora occurring almost simultaneously in the same geographic region?

    • JAndrewsFSN

      Hi Mike. Definitely very unlikely, but not impossible. I asked Dr. Michael Osterholm the same question and he said, “It’s possible for lightning to strike twice at the same time.”

  • Bill Riedel

    Perhaps the most important question to ask is: If these two top notch restaurant chains (at least by my experience) can have this outbreak what are the possibilities of achieving a safe food supply? Should we start talking about minimizing risk rather than safe food?