Cyclospora Outbreak at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida.
The reason that Cooper’s Hawk Winery’s restaurant dishes up delicious fare is likely to blame for an outbreak of Cyclospora linked to their establishment. The restaurant assures its customers and prides itself on incorporating ‘peak of the season’ ingredients into its dishes, and, suffusing them with ‘flavors from around the world.’ This is great- who wouldn’t want foods prepared to this in this manner? The problem is that Cyclospora, the parasite that makes those it inhabits ill, also loves fresh produce and especially those from tropical lands. And, because we all embrace the fruits (and vegetables and herbs) of these seasons- spring and summer, there is typically a spike in cases of this foodborne pathogen, in general. In the case of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, there have been nearly 80 reported cases of Cyclospora – some reportedly having attended a banquet there.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant has multiple locations but the one linked to this outbreak is in Jacksonville, Florida, at the Markets at Town Center, on Big Island Drive. Those having dined here reportedly enjoyed salads. Cyclospora, prevailing in some tropical regions, is not passed from human to human. Originating in contaminated feces, the parasite, once having been voided from the colon whence it came, goes through a process of maturing. It is when people, foods, or water comes in contact with the parasite that the contamination spreads. The contaminated feces can make its way into water used on food sources and the parasites cling to the food – impossible to detect and extremely difficult to remove. This Cyclospora parasite can even survive being frozen.
It is extremely important to wash produce before consuming, using clean water and drying methods. And, washing hands prior to food preparation and eating foods is important to mitigate the spread if you did come in to contact with the Cyclospora. If you do come in to contact with this parasite and become symptomatic, which can take anywhere from two to fourteen days, you can expect to experience any or all of the following: stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight loss and general flu-like symptoms. Medical attention should be sought after to ensure that the proper course of treatment is followed, allowing for a speedier recovery. And, if you specifically dined at the Cooper’s Hawk establishment, make your health provider aware of the Cyclospora outbreak.