AUSTIN – The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department said it is investigating a cyclospora outbreak which has sickened more than 70 people.
As of July 29, the health department has 79 confirmed cases in Travis County, 10 in Williamson County and five in Hays County. In Texas, 205 cases have been reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
According to the FDA, outbreak seems to be linked to cilantro from Puebla, Mexico.
Cyclospora is a parasite spread by people who ingest food or water contaminated with feces. It takes about one week to become sick after being infected. The health department said cyclospora "usually causes watery diarrhea with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements" which can last a few days to a few months.
Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, nausea and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache and other flu-like symptoms may be seen in patients.
Foodborne outbreaks of cyclospora have been linked to various types of import fresh produce, including berries and leafy greens. The health department said no particular item has been identified. People are advised to continue to thoroughly wash fresh produce.
Without treatment, the health department said a cyclospora infection may last a few days to a month or longer. Those who think they might be infected are asked to see their health care provider.
Last year, Texas had 200 cases of the illness, some of which were associated with cilantro from a region in Mexico.