Cyclospora Outbreaks and the Effects it has on People:
You can contract Cyclospora in a couple different ways. Most commonly, Cyclospora comes from fresh fruits and vegetables, like lettuce and raspberries. So, most of the time, this means that the fruit or vegetable that you became ill from came in direct contact with another person who was infected – in short, their feces was passed to the food they touched because of a failure to practice good personal hygiene. Another way is through contact with contaminated water that contains fecal material, such as sewage water.
In recent years, usually, it is a foreign country that has packed or grown the fruit or vegetable that contains Cyclospora. The reason for this, or why Cyclospora in food is often from foreign countries, is because they often alack the rules and regulations that promote sanitary conditions, such as not having outhouses on farms or not having safe distances between sewage or drain-off water and agricultural areas. The second reason is that Cyclospora likes warm weather and it grows better in tropical environments like Mexico and Central America.
Now, you may be wondering, what is Cyclospora?
Cyclospora is a microscopic parasite (think “very small” bug) that can cause serious damage to the intestinal tract and, in so doing, cause horrible symptoms such as: watery and explosive diarrhea, a serious loss of appetite, abnormal weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, bloating and extreme gas, nausea, and malaise/fatigue. These symptoms could last from a few days (very unlikely absent treatment) to two months or longer. If you believe you are infected with Cyclospora, then go to your doctor and request a stool test.
WARNING: according to Cyclospora lawyer Ron Simon, “stool cultures do not identify Cyclospora. Nor do traditional Ova and Parasite tests. Only a SPECIFIC Cyclospora screen will identify this parasite.”
In the past few years, there have been a several major outbreaks involving foreign countries and the spread of Cyclospora in the United States. One major outbreak in the United States ended just last year. It was the McDonald’s Cyclospora Outbreak. In September 2018, the CDC was alerted of more than five hundred “laboratory confirmed” cases of Cyclospora infections in people from more than 10 different states, including New York. These people were infected by multiple different salads made from McDonald’s. After this ordeal was over, there had been twenty four hospitalizations with, thankfully, no deaths.
Last year also saw the massive Del Monte Cyclospora outbreak, in which patrons of many convenience stores, including Kwik Trip and Kwik Star, ate Del Monte vegetable strays and acquired Cyclospora.
Finally, the most recent outbreak of Cyclospora infections that has occurred just this year, and in fact is still under investigation, is the fresh basil Cyclospora outbreak from Sira Logistics de RL de CV of Morelos, Mexico. There have been one hundred and thirty two laboratory confirmed cases, but only four hospitalizations. Cyclospora is not fun to have, but luckily, it isn’t life threatening. So, on that note, stay safe and eat well.