An outbreak of the foodborne illness cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by the cyclospora parasite, which can leave victims with symptoms lasting for nearly two months, has infected at least 106 people in two states. Other Midwestern states may also be linked.
The Iowa Department of Public Health said Monday that at least 71 cases of the infection caused by a rare parasite have been reported in that state as of this morning. At least 35 people in Nebraska were also sickened by cyclosporiasis as of Friday according to Nebraska epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Safranek.
The diarrhea could last an average of 57 days if untreated. The standard treatment prescribed is the combination antibiotic trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole.
The source of the current outbreak is unknown, but cyclosporiasis is often traced to eating fresh fruits and vegetables, the health department said. Most of the illnesses began in mid to late June, with many people reporting they are still ill or have suffered relapses. Dr. Safranek said last week that fresh vegetables were likely to blame.