Cyclospora Outbreak Confirmed in Houston Area
Public health agencies in east Texas recently confirmed increased Cyclospora gastrointestinal infections within their jurisdictions. They urged people to use caution this summer while cooking and spending time outdoors.
On July 7, 2023, the Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health, and Fort Bend Health & Human Services announced they are investigating over 20 Cyclospora cases.
And these agencies would like to remind people that some gastrointestinal illnesses can spread quickly, especially during the summer of 2023.
Local media reported this group of Cyclospora cases is linked to a few gatherings in the Fort Bend/Harris County area. Contact tracing is underway to see if there's a wider reason for this batch of illness.
And cases have been associated with the consumption of fresh produce, including but not limited to fresh cilantro, raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun lettuce.
The Texas Health and Human Services says Cyclospora is a non-life-threatening illness caused by an intestinal parasite. Increased cases of Cyclosporiasis tend to occur seasonally between April and August, and symptoms tend to appear between two to 14 days following infection.
In 2022, there were 610 cases in Texas.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope.
Diagnosis of Cyclosporiasis requires the submission of stool specimens and requires special laboratory tests that are not routinely done.
Cyclosporiasis is treated with a common antibiotic. Symptoms can last several weeks to a month or more if the infection is not treated.
As of June 20, 2023, the U.S. CC reported a total of 210 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in people who had not traveled outside the United States during the 14 days before they got sick had been reported from 22 states and New York City.
Of 207 people with information available, 30 have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
There is no vaccine for cyclosporiasis as of July 10, 2023.