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Texas Cyclospora Cases Linked to Mexican Cilantro

At least 126 Cyclospora-related illnesses in Texas reported this year have now been traced back to fresh cilantro imported from Mexico, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

State and federal health officials revealed the source of the outbreak at the same time they announced that the outbreak was considered over.

The case count spiked in June and July 2014, but any illness occurring after May 1 was considered part of the outbreak. At least 166 Cyclospora cases have been reported in Texas this year.

Of the outbreak cases, 21 were traced back to four restaurants in North Texas that all carried cilantro sourced from Puebla, Mexico. All 21 of those consumed dishes containing the cilantro.

Officials did not find any samples of cilantro contaminated with Cyclospora, but they said there is strong enough epidemiological evidence to link the illnesses to cilantro.

As of August 26, CDC had been notified of 207 ill persons with confirmed Cyclospora infection in 2014 who had no history of international travel within two weeks before onset of illness. The cases have been in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York (and New York City), Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington. To date, there is no evidence to suggest that any illnesses outside of Texas are linked to cilantro from Puebla, Mexico.

Last year at this time, 631 people in 25 states — including 270 people in Texas — fell ill in a Cyclospora oubreak also linked to cilantro from Puebla, Mexico, as well as to salad mix from Taylor Farms de Mexico.

Cyclospora is a single-celled parasite that can be found in food or water contaminated by infected feces and often in tropical areas. Symptoms usually appear roughly one week after ingestion and can include watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach cramps and nausea.

© Food Safety News
  • SafetyDave

    ALWAYS rinse fruit, veg, and yes, meat. You DONT know who touched it with dirty hands. Even tho the packages says it is “washed” it is STILL handled by people to put it in the package.

    • QA JP

      washing doesn’t kill or remove bacteria from fruit or vegetables. Must use proper water to sodium hypoclorite mixture. Heat treatment is another alternative.

    • R. U. Cereus?!

      Washing meat is dangerous because it can splash harmful bacteria around your kitchen. Adequate cooking is what’s needed. Washing pre-washed produce is also risky because you are exposing it to the dirtiest area in your kitchen, your sink.
      Enjoy the diarrhea.

  • Chuck

    This pathogen is not transmitted by people or their hands. It is not killed by chlorine or other safe sanitizers. It comes from soil or water that has become contaminated by fecal mater from tropical and subtropical in less developed countries, not the USA. Because of cheaper prices with Mexican cilantro Americans continue to consume products from foriegn sources rather than buying American grown. Cilantro is safely grown in many regions of the USA year round, buyers beware!

    • Chris

      A lot of times, in stores in my area, there isn’t a choice to choose USA. The stupid stores choose the Mexican version because they make a higher profit, and we get no other option. In that case, I usually choose to skip the item, which is tough when you are making a recipe and need some specific ingredient.

  • Chuck

    This pathogen is not transmitted by people or their hands. It is not killed by chlorine or other safe sanitizers. It comes from soil or water that has become contaminated by fecal mater from tropical and subtropical in less developed countries, not the USA. Because of cheaper prices with Mexican cilantro Americans continue to consume products from foriegn sources rather than buying American grown. Cilantro is safely grown in many regions of the USA year round, buyers beware!

  • J T

    In Mexico, it’s not even safe to drink the tap water. Now, knowing that, what quality of water do you think they are spraying on their crops? It is surely less clean than their tap water. In Mexico, the sewage and waste systems are woefully inadequate and even completely absent in some places, resulting in the country-wide contamination of almost every single stream, lake, canal, pond, and river. On top of the massive risk from contaminated mexican food, there is also the horrible fact that you are supporting ultra violent drug cartels every time you purchase mexican produce. The cartels control all of the trade routes out of mexico, and they collect “protection” money from most of the farmers and produce companies that export out of Mexico. You are DIRECTLY supporting violent murderous thugs EVERY time you purchase ANY mexican fruit or vegetable!

    • Anthony Eagle

      I think that the people smoking another kind of cilantro are the ones supporting the cartels, just saying!