FDA and CDC issue update on cyclosporiasis outbreak

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday that there are now 397 reported cases of Cyclospora infections in an outbreak affecting 16 states.

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled parasite that causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis. The parasite is spread through contaminated food or water and causes watery diarrhea, occasionally explosive bowel movements, weight loss, appetite, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea, increased gas and fatigue.

The FDA is working quickly to find out as much as possible about the outbreak and prevent individuals from becoming ill. While it is unclear if the cases reported are all from the same outbreak, the states of Iowa and Nebraska found the outbreak in those states is linked to a salad mix.

The FDA is following the strongest leads, prioritizing the ingredients of the salad mix for a traceback investigation, but the agency is following other leads as well. The traceback process identifies clusters of people made ill in separate geographic areas and works to trace the path of food eaten by individuals who became ill to a common source.

The agency dedicated a 15-person team at its headquarters to solve the outbreak with FDA specialists throughout the country in 10 field offices working to stop the outbreak.

The states reporting the outbreak include Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Minnesota, Louisiana, Kansas, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Connecticut, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Texas, Nebraska and Iowa.