Health officials concerned about parasite outbreak making Texans sick

Health officials concerned about parasite outbreak making Texans sick

Health officials concerned about parasite outbreak making Texans sick

State health officials are warning of an increase in Texas in the number of people who've contracted a food-borne illness often linked to imported produce.

The DSHS reports there were 148 reported cases of cyclosporiasis in Texas past year.

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by consuming food or water contaminated with the microscopic Cyclospora parasite.

The state agency issued a health advisory July 17 asking health providers to test patients who have diarrhea lasting more than a few days or diarrhea accompanied by severe loss of appetite or fatigue. Within the past month, 68 cases have been reported in the state, and DSHS said it is working with local health departments to gather information about the illnesses and identify a source. However, a statement from Health Services said past outbreaks have been associated with consumption of imported fresh produce, including fresh cilantro, pre-packaged salad mixes, raspberries, basil, snow peas and mesclun lettuce. Washing your food is always advisable, no matter what, but this parasite can only really be killed by cooking your food.

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In the summer of 2015, Travis County had 50 cyclospora cases due to an outbreak across Texas.

Numerous previous cases in Texas have been linked to cilantro, a common garnish found in Mexican and Asian food.

The symptoms they say to look for include fatigue, weakness, watery diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. FDA is hoping the reduction in cyclosporiasis cases experienced in 2016 holds up in 2017.

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