NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Workers with Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) are advising healthcare providers to be on the lookout for patients with Cyclosporiasis.
Health workers are being encouraged to test for the infection when a patient has had diarrhea lasted more than a few days or diarrhea that is accompanied by severe anorexia or fatigue.
Cyclosporiasis is an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite often entering the body in contaminated food or water. Symptoms usually begin two to 14 days after ingestion. Those infected with Cyclosporiasis often have intestinal pain and symptoms that seem similar to the stomach flu.
For the first five months of the year there had only been eight cases of Cyclosporiasis reported statewide, but in just the past month there have been 61 cases reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) – eight of those in Tarrant County.
Past U.S. outbreaks have been associated with imported fresh produce; including fresh cilantro, pre-packaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun lettuce.
TCPH Chief Epidemiologist Russell Jones had some suggestions to avoid exposure. "To reduce your risk, we recommend thoroughly washing produce before consumption. Produce that is cooked is not a concern. It's the raw produce like cilantro and salads that can be a problem."
So far, there has been no commonality between the cases reported. Officials with TCPH say they are "investigating the increased number of local cases" to try and determine if there's a singular reason for all of the infections.