Texas is seeing an increase in the number of people who have come in contact with the cyclospora parasite this year, as the FDA and CDC investigate a multi-state outbreak.
Within the past two weeks, 66 people in Texas have the cyclospora parasite. It’s literally a stomach bug that has symptoms similar to to gastrointestinal illness like cramps associated with diarrhea. Christine Mann, a spokesperson for the Department of State Health Services, said the number of infections is greater than most years.
“We typically see about ten cases a year of this illness," Mann explained, "so the number of cases is particularly high in Texas for this time of year.”
The parasite rarely spreads from person to person; people usually pick up cyclospora by coming in contact with contaminated food or water. It’s unknown if the increase in Texas is connected to the multi-state outbreak.
“We have not found any common exposure source, which is typically fresh imported produce, but at this point we don’t know what’s causing these illnesses,” Mann said.
The majority of the state’s concentration of infections is in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The CDC reports that six states are dealing with the parasite including Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Connecticut, with 250 cases nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation into the source.