AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Public Health is investigating an outbreak of Cyclosporiasis in Austin-Travis County. Health officials say that as of August 5, 82 cases have been reported by the APH's epidemiology team, with the earliest symptom onset reported on June 1.
"Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite and it is spread by people consuming food or water that has been contaminated with feces," APH said.
Officials say that they have yet to identify a single source for the Travis County outbreak. Previous outbreaks have been linked to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables such as raspberries, cilantro, basil, and green onions.
Symptoms of Cyclosporiasis include:
- Frequent bowel movements
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Stomach cramps
“While we may be in COVID-19 season, we cannot forget the other diseases and infections that are commonly present in our community,” said Janet Pichette, APH Chief Epidemiologist. “And as we have said time and time again, there are ways to prevent many of these diseases and infections, including Cyclosporiasis – thoroughly wash fresh produce, wash your hands after handling fruits and vegetables, and separate produce from raw meat and seafood.”
If you suspect you may be infected, seek medical attention – if not treated, the illness may last anywhere from a few days to more than a month.
APH recommends these tips to prevent contracting Cyclosporiasis:
Wash: Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after handling or preparing fruits and vegetables. Also wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with soap and hot water between the preparation of raw meat products and the preparation of fruits and vegetables.
Prepare: Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Scrub firm fruits and vegetables, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. Cutaway any damaged or bruised areas on fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating.
Store: Refrigerate cut, peeled, or cooked fruits and vegetables as soon as possible, or within two hours. Separate fruits and vegetables from raw meat and seafood.
The CDC is also investigating a multistate outbreak of Cyclosporiasis infections connected to a bagged salad mix.