According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of Cyclospora cases reported this summer has more than doubled in the last week with Texas accounting for more than half of all the cases in the 19-state outbreak. Now, even New York City has confirmed its first Cyclospora case. In addition to Texas, investigations are on-going in a number of states, including Maine, Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. According to a CDC spokesperson with the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Alan Dowell, the largest number of cases have been reported just this week.
The source of the Cyclospora outbreak remains unknown, says Dowell, and yet there is strong indication that imported food is at the heart of this outbreak. Of the 110 Texas’ cases of Cyclospora, 67 of those interviewed report no out-of-state travel prior to infection. In other states, 25 individuals reported having travelled out-of-state, another 40 indicated they had not. For many of the victims, this information had not yet been attained and the interview process is ongoing. Past outbreaks, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), have usually been linked to the importation of fresh produce, often from Mexico. The TDSHS is asking residents to wash all fresh produce very carefully to avoid consuming the Cyclospora parasite.
Texas Hit Hardest: Harris, Tarrant and Dallas Counties
While about 4 percent of Texas’ 254 counties have reported cases (11), 40 of the victims are located in just three counties, including Dallas (21), Harris (8), and Tarrant (11) counties. And geographically, this places about a third of all the cases in the Dallas-Fort Worth corridor. Houston, Texas’ most populous city, is in Harris County but accounts for only 3% of cases state-wide.