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In the News: U of M responds to cyclospora outbreak

Photo: Jamie McCaffrey via Flickr

There’s a new stomach bug spreading in the United States and its got health officials scrambling to find its source. Cyclospora, a parasite typically found in the tropics, has infected 321 people in 14 different states, including one person in Minnesota.

Though there are a few different sources possible, officials say it is most likely from imported fresh produce.

Craig Hedberg, Ph.D., an expert in foodborne illnesses in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, spoke to KSTP about the outbreak.

“If we have more cases in Minnesota, that will give the Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture a chance to get in and identify what the source of that might be so we can remove that product rapidly from the market,” said Hedberg.

Cyclospora infection can be accompanied by unpleasant symptoms like explosive watery diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

To help avoid contamination, Hedberg recommends following standard washing and preparation guidelines for all fresh foods until the Centers for Disease control and Prevention identifies the exact source of the parasite.

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