2 Cases of Cyclospora in Connecticut

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Federal health officials are investigating cases in six states, including CT. (Published Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013)

    More than 250 cases of Cyclospora infection have been reported in the United States since July 22, including two reported cases in Connecticut.

    Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness and the CDC is working with public health officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate an outbreak.

    Both Connecticut cases involve women who became ill in June and neither was hospitalized, according to Bill Gerrish, of the state Department of Health. 

    One women likely acquired infection while traveling internationally. Health officials said cases where infection was acquired internationally are not related to the multistate outbreak. 

    The cause of the multistate outbreak has not yet been determined, so it is not known if the Connecticut case with no history of international travel is related to the national outbreak.

    The outbreak affects nine states.

    People can become infected with Cyclospora by eating food or drinking contaminated with the parasite and people living or traveling in countries where cyclosporiasis is endemic might be at increased risk for infection, according to the CDC.

    "It's a very small parasite, it's only one cell," Dr. Louise Dembry, of Yale-New Haven Hospital, said. "It infects the small intestines."

    Doctors said some of the symptoms include diarrhea, cramps and nausea. In some cases, the symptoms can last for more than one week.

    "The treatment is a common antibiotic and that’s the one we use for Cyclospora," Dembry said.

    Health officials think the outbreak comes from ingesting fruit or vegetables contaminated with the parasite.

    "Cyclospora is generally something that’s found in tropical and sub-tropical countries, so we see it sometimes in returning travelers who might have eaten contaminated foods or water,” Dembry said.

    There have been more than 125 cases in Iowa and more than 60 each in Nebraska and Texas. There are also cases in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas and Georgia.
     
    “When we have cases in the U.S., I understand  the first two cases they found were in Iowa, that's why they're looking into whether there was a contaminated food that was imported into this country."

    To avoid the illness, clean your fruits and vegetables.

    "It should be what we always do so rinse off your fruits and vegetables and be aware of things imported from different countries, they need to be cleaned," Dembry said.