Federal public health officials continue to identify more patients in four ongoing outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.
In an outbreak of E. Coli infections from an unknown source, the patient count has grown to 12, up from 11 a week ago. Investigators have initiated traceback efforts, according to an FDA notice, but the agency has not reported what food or foods are being traced. The FDA has not released any patient information, including where the patients live.
For an outbreak of Cyclospora cayetanensis, the case count has increased from 38 to 43 cases in the past week. This incident now includes additional illnesses based on similarities in reported exposures, according to the FDA, however, the agency has not reported what those exposures are. The FDA has initiated onsite inspections and has begun sample collection and analysis, However, the agency has not reported what location is being inspected or what food is being sampled. The FDA has not released any patient information, including where the patients live.
In a separate outbreak of Cyclospora cayetanensis, the case count has increased from 112 to 118 cases. Cyclospora parasites are often associated with various types of fresh produce, including basil, cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, and snow peas. Food safety experts say washing products does not remove the parasite.
In the third outbreak from the Cyclospora parasite at least 210 people across 22 states have been sickened. Public health officials have not yet determined the source of the parasite.
Federal, state and local public health officials are investigating the outbreak, according to an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have been tracking the outbreak since April 1. Additional infections could have started before that date.
Also, there are likely more than 210 people in the ongoing outbreak because of the lag time between when patients become ill and when confirmation testing can be completed and results filed with the CDC. Some sick people don’t seek medical attention, which also impacts the outbreak count. The parasite is killed by using antibiotics. Specific tests are required to diagnose Cyclospora infections, which can mimic other illnesses.
Anyone who has developed symptoms of Cyclospora infection, and has reason to believe they have been exposed to the parasite, should seek medical attention. Specific tests are required and antibiotics are used to fight the parasite.
Cyclospora infection can cause severe abdominal pain, watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, body aches, and fatigue. Symptoms can develop between two and 14 days after exposure. Though symptoms can be severe enough to send people to the hospital, it’s rare for people to die from Cyclospora infections.
Cyclospora is a type of protozoa, which is a tiny, single-celled organism. It is transmitted when people somehow ingest contaminated feces, typically through contaminated food or water. It can be spread only through human waste, unlike E. coli and salmonella, which can also be spread from animal fecal matter.