NY Travel Clinic

Cyclospora outbreak in Texas

The Texas Department of State Health Services has received reports of 101 Cyclosporiasiscases in Texas in the last two weeks, with a total of 113 cases this year.   The cause of the outbreak has not been determined.

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the parasite Cyclosporacayetanensis.  You can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite. In the United States, outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to imported fresh produce, such as raspberries and snow peas.  Cyclospora isn’t passed directly from one person to another.

Symptoms

Symptoms can appear about a week after infection.  Although some people might not have symptoms, the most common ones are watery diarrhea, with sometimes explosive bowel movements,stomach cramps, bloating, and increased gas, loss of appetite, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, fever, body aches, and other flu-like symptoms can also occur.   The disease can last from a few days to a month if it’s not treated.

Prevention

There is no vaccine againstCyclospora.  You have to try to avoid produce and water that could have been contaminated with the pathogen.  The CDC state that “treatment with chlorine or iodine is unlikely to kill Cyclospora.”

Persons of all age groups are at risk for infection. Persons traveling to the tropics and subtropics are at increased risk because cyclosporiasis is endemic in some specific areas there.

Treatment

Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX), (Bactrim, Septra, and Cotrim), is is used to treat Cyclospora infection.

The infection can occur even in the US, so you have to be vigilant about news alerts, and avoid restaurants with questionable standards.  If you have the above symptoms, speak with your doctor.Special laboratory tests that are not routinely done are needed. Your doctor should specifically test for Cyclospora.