Published On: Sat, Jul 27th, 2013

Iowa health officials investigate two gastrointestinal outbreaks: Cyclospora and Salmonella

Iowa is dealing with two gastrointestinal outbreaks–one parasitic and one bacterial. The Hawkeye State was the first state in the current multistate Cyclospora outbreak that has affected 321 people in 14 states and New York City.



The outbreak appears to be slowing as the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 140 cases on Friday, only a two case increase from the day before.

However on Friday, the IDPH announced that they are now investing an outbreak of Salmonella, a bacterial pathogen, having received 26 reports in 19 counties of illness over the past several weeks–Allamakee (1), Black Hawk (1), Buena Vista (1), Cerro Gordo (4), Des Moines (1), Humboldt (1), Jasper (1), Kossuth (1), Madison (1), Mahaska (1), Marshall (1), Muscatine (1), Polk (3), Scott (1), Sioux (1), Story (1), Union (1), Webster (3), Woodbury (1).

“Salmonella is commonly the result of improper handling or preparation of food,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “This particular strain is often associated with improper cooking of poultry or eggs.”

The particular strain of Salmonella was not identified in the IDPH news release.

Read: Iowa Cyclospora outbreak: A few words with Dr. Patricia Quinlisk


While the symptoms of Salmonella infection are similar to those of Cyclospora infection (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc.), these recently reported cases of Salmonellosis are not related to the cyclosporiasis outbreak.

 Cyclospora cayetanensis  Image/CDC

Cyclospora cayetanensis Image/CDC

Salmonella is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Health officials offer the following recommendations to help prevent Salmonella infection:

  • Grill chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers should also be reheated to 165 degrees F. The color of cooked poultry is not always a sure sign of its safety. Only by using a food thermometer can one accurately determine that poultry has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the product.
  • When making salads containing eggs, like potato or macaroni salad, be certain the eggs are thoroughly cooked and the yolks are firm.
  • Do not use raw eggs to make homemade ice cream. You can make homemade ice cream safely by using pasteurized egg products, or by tempering and cooking the eggs in a hot custard ice cream base.
  • Keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Whether in your car or on the picnic table, illness-causing bacteria can grow in many foods within two hours and during the summer heat, that time is cut down to within one hour.

The best way to avoid all illnesses, including food borne illnesses, is by frequently washing your hands, especially after using the bathroom, before preparing food, and after playing with pets or visiting a petting zoo.

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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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  1. US salmonella egg scandal continues | Dear Kitty. Some blog says:

    […] Iowa health officials investigate two gastrointestinal outbreaks: Cyclospora and Salmonella (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

  2. Des Moines cryptosporidium outbreak case count at 68, linked to swimming pools - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] In addition to cryptosporidium, the state of Iowa is investigating outbreaks of the parasitic disease cyclospora and the bacterial disease, salmonella. […]

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