Be on the Lookout for Cyclospora

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) encourages health care professionals to test for Cyclospora in patients who have diarrheal illness lasting more than a few days or diarrhea accompanied by severe anorexia or fatigue. 

Diagnosis of cyclosporiasis requires submission of stool specimens for ova and parasite testing with additional specific orders for Cyclospora identification. The department stresses a single negative stool specimen doesn't exclude the diagnosis; three specimens are optimal. 

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis usually begin two to 14 days after ingestion of oocysts in contaminated food or water. DSHS says profuse diarrhea can last weeks to months and may relapse. Additional symptoms may include anorexia, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting, and low-grade fever.

Health care professionals and laboratories should promptly report confirmed cyclosporiasis cases to their respective local health department or DSHS by calling (800) 705-8868 or faxing (512) 776-7616.

Within the past month, DSHS has received reports of 34 cases of Cyclospora infection. The department is investigating the increased number of cases of Cyclospora infections to identify possible common exposures. 

A common exposure source for this increase hasn't yet been identified. Past U.S. outbreaks have been associated with consumption of imported fresh produce, including fresh cilantro, prepackaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun lettuce. 

For more information about Cyclospora, visit the CDC website

Action, Aug. 1, 2014