More Than 200 Sick From Parasite Infection in Vegetable Recall

July 06, 2018Jul 06, 2018

Earlier this year, there was a massive romaine lettuce recall because of E. coli contamination. Now, an outbreak might mean steering clear of vegetable trays, reported CNN

There's been an outbreak of cyclosporiasis—an infection caused by a pathogenic protozoan—has sickened 212 people in four states since May. According to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report from Thursday, seven of those people have been hospitalized.

The outbreak is linked to Del Monte vegetable trays with fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots and dill dip. The recall covers 6-ounce, 12-ounce, and 28-ounce trays.

The trays were issued on June 15, and they have a "best if used by" date of June 17, 2018. They were sold at Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond's, Sentry, Potash, Meehan's, Country Market, FoodMax Supermarket, and Peapod stores in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.

There have been illnesses reported in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

"The two cases from Michigan reportedly purchased the vegetable tray in Wisconsin and therefore Michigan is not impacted from this outbreak," a statement from the US Food and Drug Administration said.

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal infection caused by ingesting the cyclospora parasite. Symptoms include diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements. Those symptoms may be accompanied by loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, gas, and fatigue. Other symptoms include vomiting, headache, fever, body aches, and flu-like symptoms.

The length of the illness varies greatly. It can be as short as a few days or as long as a few months. Patients may feel better but then get worse again.

Treatment is antibiotics. Health officials are still working to identify which food item on the trays caused the illness.

The outbreak started on May 14. Impacted individuals range from 13 to 79 years old.

There is a separate case in Texas. Health officials there are investigating 56 reported cases of cyclospora infection since the beginning of May.

"DSHS [Department of State Health Services] is working with local health departments around the state and health departments in other states seeing an outbreak to gather information about the cases and determine whether there is a common source for the infections." the agency said in a statement.

Health care providers are supposed to test any patients with diarrhea that lasts more than a few days or those patients with diarrhea who are also experiencing fatigue and loss of appetite.

"Health care providers should promptly report cases so that public health can investigate them and attempt to determine the source in order to head off future cases," the agency said and requested that individuals with symptoms should seek medical attention.

The best way to avoid the cyclospora, which increases in the summer months, is to avoid food or water that may have been contaminated with feces. That means washing fruits and vegetables under running water before eating them. Using a brush to wash and cooking if possible is recommended.

In other news, 19 people died on Thursday in a fireworks explosion. Please pray for their families.