Cyclosporiasis Outbreak Connected to Basil Imported from Mexico
The bulk of what Mexico exports, nearly eighty percent, comes to the United States and Canada. Valued in the billions, these imports are a part of our everyday lives, including the fruits and vegetables we try our hardest to work in to our diets. It isn’t surprising, then, that an outbreak of Cyclospora impacting eleven states is connected to basil imported from Mexico. The company out of Morelos, Mexico, Siga Logistics de RL de CV, issued a recall of this product in late July. So far, there are reports of the Cyclospora reaching eleven states. Five states report exposure to diners at various restaurants.
Cyclosporiasis impacts the intestines and causes a multitude of ailments. The product of one of many types of pathogens, microscopic organisms that can lead to illness, Cyclosporiasis is caused by a microscopic parasite. The parasite makes its way into the human body by way of contaminated foods or water. Not directly transferrable human to human, the parasitic contagion is ‘brought to life’ after evacuation from its host. Contaminated feces contain ‘Cyclospora cayetanensis’ oocysts which have not yet formed into spores. After a week or two goes by, they have matured and sporulated and are now able to infect another person. All that the infected spores need to do now is make their way into water either consumed directly or used in food production.
According to the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration, more than two hundred individuals have lab-verified Cyclosporiasis infections and five have been hospitalized. No deaths have occurred. Consumers are advised to immediately discard or return to merchant any basil that they know to have been imported from Mexico, and specifically from Siga Logistics de RL de CV. And, if uncertain about the origin of the basil, the recommendation is to lean into caution and not consume. If you have had this imported basil in your kitchen, even if you have not become ill, disinfect all containers and surfaces as a precaution. If you, or a family member has consumed basil and are experiencing symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss, watery diarrhea and cramping – see your health care provider immediately for diagnosis and treatment.