Cyclospora Outbreak That Caused 642 Illnesses Likely To Be Over, CDC Says; Finds Fresh Cilantro Caused Second Outbreak In Texas

cilantro
Cilantro caused a second outbreak of cyclosporiasis, and accounted for about 50 percent of the Texas illnesses. Rebecca Wilson, CC BY 2.0

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Wednesday that the cyclospora outbreaks that hit 25 states between June and August, causing 642 people to become ill, has likely ended. In the update, the CDC also said that there was a second outbreak that wasn’t traced back to the pre-packaged salads, but to fresh cilantro.

About 50 percent of the 278 people who fell ill in Texas to cyclosporiasis reported eating fresh cilantro between two and 14 days before the onset of symptoms. The cilantro, which was served at three different Mexican-style restaurants and one grocery store, was traced back to a farm in Puebla, Mexico. None of the establishments were named in the update.

“Because the investigation remains open, we cannot name where the cilantro was served or the name of the farm in Mexico,” Juli Ann Putnam, spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told the Associated Press.

The CDC’s findings answer the mystery of where some of the Texas illnesses came from, since the investigation had originally traced the cyclospora back to bagged salad mix produced by Taylor Farms de Mexico, and served at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants in Nebraska and Iowa. Some of those sickened in Texas also reported eating at these restaurants, however, these restaurants didn’t source their salad from Taylor Farms.

Taylor Farms de Mexico, a subsidiary of the company based out of Salinas, California, suspended all operations in August after it was discovered that the facility was responsible for the illnesses. The FDA allowed

Cyclosporiasis is caused by the parasite, Cyclospora, when food is contaminated by feces. It takes an average of one week for someone who is infected by the single-cell parasite to feel symptoms. The stomach bug infects the small intestine, where it usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, and sometimes explosive bowel movements. Sickened people may also experience a loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, bloating, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms, according to the CDC

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