The FDA and CDC linked a multi-state outbreak of cyclospora illnesses to fresh basil exported by Siga Logistics de RL de CV located in Morelos, Mexico. The company has agreed to voluntarily recall the product.
Since the outbreak was first reported in July, 241 people have fallen ill across 11 states. At least six of the victims had to be admitted to the hospital, but no deaths have been reported.
The most recent confirmed illness onset date was July 26 and the CDC has officially declared the end of the outbreak.
“In this fresh basil-associated cluster (of illnesses), there were several situations in which people reported eating at the same restaurants,” the CDC reported.
What is Cyclospora?
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite that can only be seen under a microscope. When people consume products that's contaminated with Cyclospora, they can get an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis.
The parasite is generally transmitted when infected feces contaminate food or water. It's unlikely to be transmitted directly from person to person because it needs time (days to weeks) after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person.
The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about one week. Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea and fatigue. People may experience vomiting, body aches, headache, low-grade fever and other flu-like symptoms. Meanwhile, some may not have any symptoms. If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer.
Confirmed patients are from 11 states, though several victims were not exposed to the implicated basil in their home states. The CDC reported the exposure occurring in Florida, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin.
“The Massachusetts and Connecticut case-patients were exposed in New York State; the Iowa, Rhode Island, and two Wisconsin case-patients were exposed in Minnesota; and the Georgia, South Carolina, one Wisconsin and two Minnesota case-patients were exposed in Florida,” according to the outbreak update.
Illnesses first began on June 10, 2019 and have ranged until July 26, 2019. Sickened people range in age from 15 to 98 years, with 70 percent being female.