Cyclospora Outbreak

During the summer, many people tend to eat lighter and consume more salads.  To that end, we wanted to alert you to a recent outbreak of an intestinal illness that may be attributable to eating prepackaged salad.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is working diligently with local health departments in several states to determine the possible link between a Cyclospora outbreak and bagged salad mix sold across the country.  Hundreds of people have become ill  and 22 people in five states have been hospitalized over the past several weeks.

Cyclospora is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis.  The disease is transmitted by fecal matter ingested in foods or water supply.  Symptoms can include loose, water diarrhea, fatigue, bloating, stomach cramps, nausea and low grade fever.  Public health workers in several states have noticed that a large number of the afflicted had eaten the same brand of prepackaged salad mix.  CDC and public health officials are also investigating salad mix sold to patrons of a large national restaurant chain where they have identified clusters of Cyclospora outbreaks. The national restaurant chain purchased its salad ingredients for a single source.

We recommend that you thoroughly wash all lettuce and vegetables before consuming them, even if your prepackage salad mixes are labeled as pre-washed.

We would also like to remind you to use precaution when swimming in local lakes and ponds this summer.  Outbreaks of intestinal illness due to waterborne parasites such as Giardia occur in water supplies that are home to water fowl like ducks and geese.  Check with local officials to make sure that your lakes and ponds have been properly treated and inspected before jumping in.


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