Cyclospora gets around

As summer grinds on in the Northern Hemisphere, Cyclospora is again spreading: at least 78 in the UK; 57 in Canada (which appear to be locally acquired; and, 712 lab-confirmed cases in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control reports Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled parasite that causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis.

As of August 16, 2017 (3pm EDT), CDC has been notified of 712 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in persons who became ill in 2017. This number includes persons who reported international travel as well as persons who did not report travel. The reports have come from 36 states.

At least 347 (49%) of these persons did not report international travel (i.e., likely were infected in the United States) and became ill on or after May 1, 2017 (a date after which cases tend to increase each year). These 347 persons were from the following 31 states: Arizona (1), California (5), Colorado (6), Connecticut (18), Florida (36), Georgia (4), Illinois (11), Indiana (3), Iowa (8), Kansas (2), Louisiana (3), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (11), Michigan (1), Minnesota (10), Missouri (8), Montana (2), Nebraska (5), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (10), New Mexico (1), New York (excluding NYC) (12), New York City (27), North Carolina (19), Ohio (6), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (2), South Dakota (4), Texas (116), Utah (1), Virginia (2), and Wisconsin (7).

At this time, no specific vehicle of interest has been identified, and investigations to identify a potential source (or sources) of infection are ongoing. It is too early to say whether cases of Cyclospora infection in different states are related to each other or to the same food item(s).

Previous U.S. outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce (e.g., basil, cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, snow peas). Consumers should continue to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a well-balanced diet.