Westfield Regional Health Department officials meet to discuss the Current New Jersey Cyclospora Outbreak:
On Monday, August 9, the Westfield Board of Health held a general meeting in which they discussed the growing New Jersey Cyclospora Outbreak which has already affected many resident people in Westfield, NJ.
The Westfield Regional Health Department discussed the local impact of the nationwide outbreak of cyclospora linked to fresh basil. According to the Regional Health Department close to 30 cyclospora cases have been reported from Chatham Borough, Fanwood, Garwood, Mountainside, New Providence, Roselle Park, Summit and Westfield. Health Department officials stated that the first few cyclospora cases in the area were reported in May.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported 132 cases associated with this year’s most recent cyclospora outbreak across multiple states linked to fresh basil exported by Siga Logistics de RL de CV located in Morelos, Mexico. Department of Health officials mentioned that one of the difficulties tied in with the spread of cyclospora is that it’s difficult to pinpoint who provided the contaminated produce. Megan Avallone, director of the Westfield Regional Health Department said “We know about this one farm. It may be other farms.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 11 states have already been affected by this cyclospora outbreak and the number of reported cases is expected to continue to growing. Both the CDC and the FDA are working together to advise both consumers and distributors on what steps to take when dealing with the contaminated basil. Restaurants have already been advised to stop serving and throw away any basil which may be believed to be contaminated. The FDA requested a voluntary recall on Fresh Basil exported to the United States by Siga Logistics de RL de CV located in Morelos, Mexico on July 25th but no official recall has been announced as of yet.
Ron Simon, a national Cyclospora Lawyer who is representing families affected by this basil Cyclospora outbreak, and who is representing people in the New Jersey Cyclospora Outbreak, advises individuals with symptoms linked to Cyclospora to contact their healthcare provider for treatment immediately. He also noted that in many of the recent cases of a large Cyclospora outbreak, such as the McDonald’s Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad outbreak and the previous Olive Garden/Red Lobster salad outbreak, the victims had found out their likely diagnosis on television before they presented for a Cyclospora test. Many had been in and out of their physician’s offices without satisfaction, often with negative stool cultures leaving both the victim and the medical professional wondering about the etiology of the disease. According to the CDC healthcare professionals need to specifically arrange testing for Cyclospora – a Cyclospora screen. Testing can be performed via ova and parasite examination, using molecular approaches, or via a gastrointestinal pathogen panel evaluation.