50 cyclospora cases reported in Travis County, highest in state

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- More than 90 cyclospora cases have been reported across Texas this year, including 72 in the last two weeks. Fifty cases have been reported in Travis County, far more than any other county. Dallas County was next on the list with five cases. One case has been reported in Williamson County.

"Our primary purpose is to do surveillance for diseases," said epidemiologist Jeff Taylor as he tried to find the source of the outbreak in Travis County. It has only been hitting adults, leading investigators to look at weddings, or receptions, sometime in the last week of May or early June.

The recent outbreak has the Texas Department of State Health Services asking people to thoroughly wash their produce. Cyclospora is an intestinal illness caused by microscopic parasite and is spread by drinking or eating food that was contaminated with feces.

"The diarrhea can last from 7 to 10 days, a person can start to feel better, then they'll get another series of diarrhea episodes," Taylor added.

Department officials have not yet been able to determine whether the outbreak is linked to one source since no particular food source has been identified.

"We're keeping our mind open. We still might be early in the outbreak," said Taylor.

Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, including berries and leafy greens. Last year, Texas reported 200 cases, some of which were associated with cilantro from the Puebla region of Mexico.

Common symptoms of cyclospora:

  • watery diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • fatigue

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