Stomach Bug Mystery: 250 People In 6 States Have Cyclospora Infection, CDC Says

By iScienceTimes Staff on July 24, 2013 2:16 PM EDT

stomach bug
The source of a stomach bug known as a cyclospora infection has eluded health officials. The CDC suspects the stomach bug may be coming from tainted fruit. (Photo: CDC)

UPDATE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 275 cases of the stomach bug have been reported from nine states. Click here to see their Case Count Map.

A stomach bug known as a cyclospora infection has infected more than 250 people in at least six states.

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The stomach bug, which could be linked to foodborne illness, causes diarrhea and flu-like symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 10 people have reportedly been hospitalized.

Cases have been reported in six states: Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas and Wisconsin. The most cases of the stomach bug have occurred in Iowa, where 118 people have come down with cyclospora infection; in Texas, the number is 65; and in Nebraska, 68 people have gotten the stomach bug.

No one knows yet exactly where the stomach bug is coming from, but the prime suspect right now is fresh produce. According to NBC News, officials in Nebraska think that fresh vegetables might be the source of the stomach bug. It could be more than one type of produce that's contaminated by cyclospora, or it could have to do with contaminated water used to grow the produce.

"Nothing has been implicated yet in a formal sense," said Barbara Herwaldt, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC. "No food item has been identified as the source of the outbreak."

So what exactly is a cyclospora infection? According to the CDC website:

--Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope. This parasite causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis.

--Cyclospora is spread by people ingesting something--such as food or water--that was contaminated with feces (stool). Cyclospora needs time (days to weeks) after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person. Therefore, it is unlikely that Cyclospora is passed directly from one person to another.

--The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about 1 week. Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted. Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms.

In addition to the CDC looking into the mystery stomach bug, the Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that they're investigating.

READ MORE:
Deadly Coronavirus: How Can The SARS-like Virus Spread Between People

H7N9 Symptoms Testing: CDC Releases New Bird Flu Assessment Guidelines

Deadly Illness Alabama: What Are The Symptoms Of Unknown Sickness That Killed 2?

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