Officials in Georgia are investigating an outbreak of cyclospora infections in the northwest part of the state.
The Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District has not released any numbers, but it is urging people with symptoms of cyclospora infection to seek medical treatment and report any confirmed infections to local public health officials.
Cyclosporiasis is often associated with eating fresh produce, usually, that was grown outside the United States, according to Georgia officials. However, in recent years there have been confirmed cases in people who have eaten leafy greens or cilantro grown in the United States.
Cyclosporiasis is not contagious. There is no evidence it spreads from person to person. The cyclospora parasite is microscopic and therefore cannot be seen when washing produce.
Georgia public health officials say their investigation is ongoing and the number of cases is expected to increase.
Cyclosporiasis causes an illness that can result in prolonged gastrointestinal distress, including watery diarrhea with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements that can last for weeks. In severe cases, cyclospora infection can require hospitalization.
If you have had diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, or other gastrointestinal symptoms lasting longer than a few days, public health officials urge you to talk to your healthcare provider. If not treated, cyclosporiasis can last a month or longer. Symptoms may subside or go away and then return several times. Healthcare providers can order testing to confirm the illness and may treat patients with antibiotics.
A cyclospora infection can be mild or very serious. People most at risk for a serious infection are children, the elderly, and those with a compromised immune system.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here)