The number of people in Texas infected with the Cyclospora parasite from a recent outbreak has nearly doubled in the last week. The state is trying to locate a common source, as other states believe they have pinpointed the cause to lettuce.
122 people have contracted cyclospora since the outbreak began two weeks ago. Cyclospora is a parasite that can cause symptoms similar to gastrointestinal illness like diarrhea and cramps that can last for weeks.
“It’s a relatively rare parasite that spreads through the consumption of contaminated water or food," says Christine Mann, spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services. "What we do know is that the previous outbreak to had linked to cyclospora infection have linked it to imported produce.”
“Other states have pointed to bagged mixed salad greens as the source of their infection, but we have not," she added, "and it’s really not clear at this point if the outbreak in Texas is linked to the outbreak in Nebraska and Iowa.”
Normally, Texas only sees about a dozen cases of the illness each year. Nationwide, about 372 people have contracted the bug in sixteen states according to the Centers for Disease Control. Although Iowa and Nebraska have identified a possible source, a company producing the lettuce has not been named.