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Posted: Thu, 18 Jul 2013 10:41 CDT
Category: Infectious Disease Prevention

Cyclospora Outbreak Investigation Focuses on Finding Source

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to receive reports of confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection and interview those who are ill, but numbers are decreasing. Now the investigation focuses primarily on determining the source of the contamination. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) is leading the Iowa investigation. IDPH and DIA will continue to update their federal partners as the Iowa epidemiologic investigation continues. Daily case counts will continue to be posted to the IDPH web site.

“Through interviews with those who have been ill and by mapping the onset of illness (mid-June), we have a very good indication the source of contamination was most likely a vegetable that has probably already been consumed or discarded (because of the limited shelf life of fresh produce),” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. At no time was an Iowa-grown fruit or vegetable suspected to be the cause of the outbreak and IDPH continues to encourage Iowans to include fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their daily diet.

As of today, 102 cases of Cyclospora infections have been reported to IDPH; almost all have been identified through testing at the State Hygienic Lab (SHL), including:

  • Linn County - 34 cases
  • Polk County - 9 cases
  • Pottawattamie County - 8 cases
  • Dallas County - 5 cases
  • Black Hawk County - 4 cases
  • Woodbury County - 4 cases
  • Boone County - 4 cases
  • Fayette County - 3 cases
  • O’Brien County - 3 cases
  • Buchanan - 3 cases
  • Webster County - 3 cases
  • Dubuque - 3 cases
  • Mills County - 2 cases
  • Des Moines County - 2 cases
  • Benton County - 1 case
  • Keokuk County - 1 case
  • Monona County - 1 case
  • Butler County - 1 case
  • Lucas County - 1 case
  • Poweshiek County - 1 case
  • Winneshiek County - 1 case
  • Johnson County - 1 case
  • Montgomery County - 1 case
  • Iowa County - 1 case
  • Van Buren County - 1 case
  • Story County - 1 case
  • Cedar County - 1 case
  • Dickinson County - 1 case
  • Plymouth County - 1 case

Total - 102 cases

At least six people have been hospitalized. Many people report still being ill with diarrhea and some have had relapses. Specific treatment is available (but it is not typically used for more common diarrheal illnesses). Also, very specific laboratory testing (not commonly ordered) must be done to detect Cyclospora.

People become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite, which causes a watery diarrhea that lasts an average of 57 days if untreated. Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Fatigue (severe tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Increased gas
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Low-grade fever

For more information, visit Outbreak Investigation.

Contact Information: Polly Carver-Kimm at (515) 281-6693

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