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