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Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2013

Iowa and Nebraska investigate outbreaks of the parasite, Cyclospora

In a follow-up to a story last week, Iowa Department of Public Health officials, in collaboration with CDC and local public health agencies, are investigating an outbreak of an intestinal illness caused by Cyclospora.

As of July 8, health officials are reporting 22 cases of Cyclospora infection, this up 15 cases from last week.

 Cyclospora cayetanensis  Image/CDC

Cyclospora cayetanensis Image/CDC

Cases of the parasitic disease have been reported from the following counties: Linn County (10), Fayette County (3), O’Brien County (2), Webster County (2), Benton County, Des Moines County, Mills County, Polk County and Van Buren County, all with one case each.

Most people’s illness began in mid to late June, and at least one person has been hospitalized. Many people report still being ill with diarrhea and some have had relapses.

In neighboring Nebraska, health officials have reported eight additional Cyclospora cases as of July 5, bringing the total in the Cornhusker State to 13 cases.

To date, no specific source of exposure has been identified. The investigation is ongoing.

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis.

People can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite. People living or traveling in countries where cyclosporiasis is endemic may be at increased risk for infection.

Concerning the symptoms of cyclosporiasis, the CDC says, the time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about 1 week. Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted. Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms.

If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse).

Cyclospora can be treated with antibiotics.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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