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Cyclospora Cayetanensis Outbreak: Rare Parasite Sickens 250 in Midwest, FDA Investigating

Parasite
(Photo : REUTERS/Rebecca Cook) It is suspected that the outbreak is linked to fresh produce shipped across state lines.

Over 250 people in the Midwest have been sickened by a rare Cyclospora cayetanensis parasite outbreak.

NBC reported that federal health officials said that the rare parasite may have contaminated fresh produce shipped across state lines.

This tainted produce could have been shipped across state lines, and more than one food source could be the cause of the outbreak, as contaminated water may be involved.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cyclospora infection is caused by the single-cell parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis.

Symptoms include diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, gas, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and fever.

Though the infection is not deadly, these symptoms can persist for over a month. Patients are prescribed antibiotics.

As Medical Daily reported, Dr. Barbara Herwaldt, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC said, "What we don't know yet is whether the transmission or spread of the parasite is ongoing."

Texas and Nebraska have both reported over 60 infections each, while in Iowa, at least 118 people have been infected.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as launched an investigation to learn more about the outbreak.

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