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AUSTIN -- A rise in an intestinal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora has prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services to launch an investigation on the cause.

DSHS reports 77 cases of Cyclosporiasis cases from around Texas this year. Sixty-nine in the last month.

In 2013, Texas had 351 cases. Texas had the most cases of Cyclosporiasis than any other state.

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness. It is caused by consuming food or water that have the Cyclospora parasite.

DSHS highly recommends thoroughly washing fresh produce, but washing produce may not entirely rid the parasite. DSHS says cooking kills the parasite.

On July 21, Tarrant County Public Health issued a warning of a Cyclosporiasis outbreak. Tarrant County is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan area.

If you think you may have a Cyclospora infection, you should contact your health care provider. A major symptom of Cyclospora is watery diarrhea. Additional symptoms include: Loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and a low fever. Symptoms can last a few days to a few months, and symptoms can come and go multiple times over a period of weeks.

A common exposure source has yet to be identified, but past outbreaks in the United States were associated with imported fresh produce, including pre-packaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas and mesclun greens.

The 2013 Cyclospora outbreak in Texas was linked to fresh cilantro from Puebla, Mexico.

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