The number of reported cases of domestically acquired cyclosporiasis illnesses has increased by 254 cases since the last update on July 14, 2021. Cases continue to be reported to CDC.
As of July 27, 2021, 462 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in people who had no history of international travel during the 14-day period before illness onset have been reported to CDC by 29 jurisdictions, including 28 states and New York City.
The median illness onset date is June 20, 2021 (range: May 1, 2021–July 16, 2021).
At least 41 people have been hospitalized; no deaths have been reported.Cyclosporiasis illnesses are reported year-round in the United States; however, during the spring and summer months there is often an increase in cyclosporiasis acquired in the United States (i.e., “domestically acquired”). The exact timing and duration of these seasonal increases in domestically acquired cyclosporiasis can vary, but reports tend to increase starting in May. In previous years the reported number of cases peaked between June and July, although activity can last as late as September. The overall health impact (e.g., number of infections or hospitalizations) and the number of identified clusters of cases (i.e., cases that can be linked to a common exposure) also vary from season to season. Previous U.S. outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of fresh produce, including basil, cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, and snow peas.
CDC, along with state and federal health and regulatory officials, monitor cases of cyclosporiasis in the United States in the spring and summer months to detect outbreaks linked to a common food source. However, many cases of cyclosporiasis cannot be directly linked to an outbreak, in part because of the lack of validated laboratory “fingerprinting” methods needed to link cases of Cyclospora infection. Officials use questionnaires to interview sick people to determine what they ate in the 14-day period before illness onset. If a commonality is found, CDC and partners work quickly to determine if a contaminated food product is still available in stores or in peoples’ homes and issue advisories.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a unicellular, microscopic parasite that can cause food- or water-related gastrointestinal illness. Cyclospora cannot be transmitted directly from one person to another through infected fecal matter; the parasite must complete part of its lifecycle outside of a host. Most cases of cyclosporiasis occur in underdeveloped tropical and subtropical regions of the world where the parasite is endemic.
In the United States, Cyclospora causes about 11,000 illnesses and 11 hospitalizations, but infestations of this parasite do not typically result in death. Due to the self-limiting nature of the pathogen (which causes some people to not seek medical care), difficulty in diagnosing it specifically, and other factors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there could be very broad ranges of infection, from 140 to 38,000 annual cases. In North America, outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in humans have been reported mostly from contaminated fresh food products, such as soft fruits (raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries), leafy vegetables (lettuce and mixed salad), and herbs (basil and cilantro). Soil is another possible infection source, particularly in areas with poor environmental sanitation.
Since Cyclospora infections tend to respond to the appropriate treatment, complications are more likely to occur in individuals who are not treated or not treated promptly. These can include disorders of malabsorption, reactive arthritis, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), and, possibly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
Cyclospora: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Cyclospora outbreaks. The Cyclospora Attorneys and Lawyers have represented victims of Cyclospora and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $800 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Cyclospora lawyers have litigation Cyclospora cases stemming from outbreaks traced to basil and lettuce products.
If you or a family member became ill with a Cyclospora infection after consuming food and you are interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Cyclospora attorneys for a free case evaluation.