CDC investigating local cyclosporiasis outbreak

TROY — The recently-discovered outbreak of cyclosporiasis within Miami County is now being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to Miami County Public Health.

Cyclosporiasis is a gastrointestinal infection caused from ingesting foods or drinking water containing the parasite Cyclospora. Symptoms associated with a cyclosporiasis infection are watery, sometimes explosive, bowel movements, but can also include loss of appetite, stomach pain/bloating, fatigue and extreme weight loss.

MCPH reported last month that four confirmed cases were discovered. These individuals began to experience symptoms in early June and continued to have symptoms of diarrhea and nausea well into July, according MCPH’s Vicky Knisley-Henry, who said three cases constitutes an outbreak.

Health commissioner Dennis Propes said the information from the outbreak was sent to the state health department, which then forwarded the case to the federal level due to the discovery of a similar outbreak in another state.

Propes added that both MCPH and the CDC, along with the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Health, are confident the source of the outbreak was a specific contaminated product rather than an issue with restaurant procedures.

“With a normal foodborne outbreak, it’s handled here locally, but since it’s a product issue and not a restaurant issue, that goes up to the state and federal levels,” Propes said. “So, what (the CDC) is doing is DNA sequencing to see if the DNA is the same on the samples from the different outbreaks and if it is, they may be able to link a common supplier or farm,” Propes said.

Unlike other foodborne illnesses which may cause symptoms for a few days, Propes said cyclosporiasis can be a prolonged illness if an individual does not seek treatment.

“The symptoms of this are long-lasting,” Propes said. “It’s an intestinal parasite and it does not clear up with antibiotics or antivirals or with time, so if you’re not taking the proper medications to get rid of the parasite, the symptoms will continue.”

For more information about Cyclospora and cyclosporiasis, visit www.cdc.gov/parasites/cyclosporiasis/index.html.

The CDC investigation is ongoing. Upon completion, findings will be released by the agency, along with any associated product alerts or recalls.