The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an alert to health providers about a rise in Cyclospora cases.
According to the DSHS, 68 cases have been reported in Texas within the last month, however, a source has not been identified.
The symptoms can cause issues for months.
Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by consuming food or water contaminated with the microscopic Cyclospora parasite. The main symptom is watery diarrhea lasting a few days to a few months. Additional symptoms may include loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and a low fever. Symptoms may come and go multiple times over a period of weeks or months.
Providers should test any patients suffering from diarrhea lasting more than a few days.
The DSHS stated past outbreaks in the U.S. have been associated with consumption of imported fresh produce, including fresh pre-packaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun greens. Texas has had multiple outbreaks linked to cilantro.
DSHS recommends thoroughly washing all fresh produce, but that may not entirely eliminate the risk because Cyclospora can be very difficult to wash off. Cooking will kill the parasite. Infection is generally not transmitted directly from person-to-person.
There were 148 cases of cyclosporiasis in Texas reported last year.