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Iowa health officials say ‘fresh vegetables, not fruit’ possible source of Cyclospora outbreak

The Iowa Department of Public Health, CDC and local public health agencies are investigating an outbreak of an intestinal illness caused by Cyclospora (a rare parasite). As of  July 12, 45 cases of Cyclospora infections have been reported to IDPH; almost all have been identified through testing at the State Hygienic Lab (SHL).

Four Cyclospora oocysts from fresh stool stained using a modified acid-fast stain. Image/CDC (DPDx)

Four Cyclospora oocysts from fresh stool stained using a modified acid-fast stain.
Image/CDC (DPDx)

The case count is up from 39 reported the day prior.

Health officials say that although the source of this outbreak is unknown at this time, progress is being made. They go on to say that  Cyclospora illness is typically traced to consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables contaminated with the parasite; this investigation currently indicates fresh vegetables, not fruit, may be the source of illness.

The 45 cases have been reported from the following counties: Linn County – 21 cases, Fayette County – 3 cases, Polk County – 3 cases, O’Brien County – 3 cases, Dallas County – 2 cases, Mills County – 2 cases, Webster County – 2 cases, Des Moines County – 2 cases, Benton County – 1 case, Black Hawk County – 1 case, Buchanan – 1 case, Johnson County – 1 case, Pottawattamie County – 1 case, Van Buren County – 1 case and Woodbury – 1 case.

Washing fresh produce is recommended to help prevent this parasitic infection; however, it can be very difficult to wash Cyclospora off all types of produce, health officials note.

Cyclosporiasis causes a watery diarrhea that lasts an average of 57 days if untreated. Other symptoms include: fatigue (severe tiredness), loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, increased gas, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and low-grade fever.

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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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