The number of patients sickened in a Cyclospora outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska possibly linked to fresh vegetables soared to 119, state officials said today, a 39-case increase.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) in an update today reported 71 cases, which is 26 more than it reported on Jul 12.
Leah Bucco-White, meanwhile, a public information officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, told CIDRAP News today that Nebraska now has 48 cyclosporiasis cases, up 13 cases since Jul 12.
Bucco-White said, "We're making progress and are currently looking at vegetables more than fruit," adding that the investigation is ongoing.
The IDPH has said that it, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local public health agencies are investigating the outbreak involving the rare Cyclospora parasite, which is usual spread by drinking contaminated water or eating tainted food. Past Cyclospora outbreaks have been traced to produce items, typically imported ones, such as raspberries, basil, and snow peas.
Besides Nebraska, some other Midwestern states have cases, according to the IDPH. However, Nebraska and Iowa are the only ones so far to specify case numbers.
The Iowans sickened in the outbreak are from 22 different counties, though 30 of them are from Linn County, an area in the east central part of the state and home to Cedar Rapids.
In an update last week the IDPH said interviews with sick patients so far haven't yielded a specific food suspect, but it said the investigation so far points to a vegetable rather than a fruit source.
Cyclosporiasis causes episodes of watery diarrhea that can last as long as 57 days. Other symptoms can include fatigue, anorexia, bloating, stomach cramps, vomiting, muscle aches, and a low-grade fever.
Jul 15 IDPH outbreak update
Jul 12 CIDRAP News story "Cyclospora cases climb to 80 in Iowa, Nebraska