What We Know (and Don’t Know) About the Latest Stomach Bug Outbreak

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Officials still don’t know how more than 200 people in the U.S. fell beginning in mid June, but they know why — most were infected with the cyclospora parasite.

As summer started, scientists at the U.S.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were notified of two people from Iowa who had developed unusual cases  cyclospora infection. The Iowans had no history of international travel in the two weeks prior to their infections, which strongly indicated that their bugs were contracted stateside. Since then more infections have been reported to the CDC, totaling up to 285 people in 11 states.

CDC and state public health officials are still investigating how the people got sick, but here is what’s known so far:

outbreak-map-annotated

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • The cases were reported to the CDC by state health departments and physicians as cyclospora infection, but the agency generally conducts additional testing to confirm the diagnosis. So far, CDC has confirmed the presence of the parasite in samples from five of the cases.
  • 18 people have been hospitalized.
  • Cyclospora is a one-celled, microscopic parasite that causes weeks or even months of severe intestinal illness associated with diarrhea and sometimes explosive bowel movements. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, cramps, nausea and fatigue. Many cases of the infection resolve on their own, but antibiotics can speed recovery and reduce symptoms. Often, they symptoms appear to go away, but relapse a few more times.

(MORE: New Strain of Norovirus Is Circulating in the U.S)

  • Generally, cyclospora outbreaks occur when food or water is contaminated with the parasite. The parasite is more common in tropical countries, and previous outbreaks in the U.S. originated in fresh produce that was imported from these regions.

What they don’t know at this point includes:

  • the source of the contamination, whether it’s contaminated produce or unsanitary irrigation methods used to grow produce
  • whether there is a single or multiple contaminated products that are responsible for the infections
  • whether all of the affected people were infected by the same source

(MORE: Bad Food: Illnesses from Imported Food are on the Rise, CDC Says)

As the investigation continues, the CDC is urging people to take precautions when eating fresh produce in particular. “The best way to prevent infection is to avoid the food causing it, but since we don’t know what that is yet, as always, people should make sure they wash any fresh food to reduce risk,” says a CDC spokesperson. The agency will update their investigation here.

31 comments
NikiBeach
NikiBeach

I live in Edmonton Alberta. Approximately 13 days ago I started feeling sick. It started out as sore neck, back, headache and persistent stomach cramping. Each day I became more sick with relentless bouts of diarrhea, nausea all over body aches and pains. I went to the doctors and they said it was a flu and to let it run its course. Each night the pain in my stomach, cramping bloating, explosive bowel movements got worse. Every day I kept going back to the doctors to which they prescribed me pain killers (tremedol) and  stomach cramping medicine. Nothing to take the flu/virus away. On day 10, I admitted myself to the hospital with dehydration. They ran blood work and did a white cell count. They sent me home with a bag to submit a stool sample. I submitted the stool or rather liquid sample, and was told I would have the results next week!!! In total I have lost 8 pounds and feel and look like death. Nothing has worked so far, but today I was finally put on Cipro and antibiotic. I pray to god this works cause I have never felt worse in my life. I could easily see how if an elderly person or small child got this illness that they could succumb to the illness. 

toniintro
toniintro

Agents of  stomach flu spread by airborne and contact-bit path. Available in faeces and vomit. Patients can contaminate food and objects with the virus after defecating, especially if you do not wash their hands. Able to communicate and contact with another person, such as a handshake. Emesis viruses fall into the air.


Noroviruses are highly contagious especially. They can remain viable for months on the surface of objects which have not been thoroughly disinfected. If there are sick of such viruses, it is recommended that the disinfection of the surrounding objects with bleach.
Read more at http://stomachflu-symptoms.blogspot.com/2013/08/stomach-flu-2013-viral-gastroenteritis.html#7SFibOtEESgyIs0q.99 

Moirraine
Moirraine

"Many cases of the infection resolve on their own, but antibiotics can speed recovery and reduce symptoms." 


BULLCRAP ALEXANDRA!


Please let me know if you EVER have an infection like this.


I DID.  An amoeba infection can kill a human, JUST AS THIS CAN.  


THE CDC and every other agency and human being who knows what this bacteria IS, KNOWS where it comes FROM and how it is SPREAD.


TRY getting SOME PEOPLE to WASH THEIR HANDS AFTER USING A BATHROOM!!!!  TRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I see it everyday.  I see the unkempt, the literally UNWASHED, who will NOT wash their hands no matter WHAT they do and STILL touch the food of others and their own to their disgusting detriment and to the illness of their families.


Handwashing is something that isn't done regularly in MANY homes around our nation and FORGET around the WORLD!  TRY living in Italy or Germany or visiting the rest of Europe and seeing the horrid hygeine of workers and people in general.


If we want clean produce, it's time to grow our own where we can and TEACH those who PICK OUR FOOD to WASH THEIR HANDS AND HAVE CAMERA's ON THEM EACH TIME THEY CRAP.


SO many have died over a simple case of NOT WASHING A PAIR OF HANDS!!!!


Alexandra, this isn't investigative reporting; and this isn't forwarding the reality that someone is responsible, maybe many, for such a SIMPLE thing that so many WILL NOT DO.



rmcmahon2
rmcmahon2

The phrase "..explosive bowel movements.." jumped out at me....yeah, I had it in early 2012....it was unbelievable...for 24 hours, you run both a high fever and to the toilet.....then, you feel crappy for days (pun intended).    That first day was agonizing....it's why I remember it.

robin1
robin1

I was just discussing with some friends how nowadays no matter what the news article is about- the comments eventually just degenerate into some form of political fisticuffs. Useful comments would be about if you have had this illness and what you have eaten recently. My boyfriend and I have both just came down with these symptoms and we have had watermelon which is local (Florida) bagged salad mixes and most notably some cantaloupes that the local smaller chain stores had for a buck each. I'm betting on the cantaloupe. Anyone else have something useful to add that is more to the topic and far from the weird religious and political garbage so far posted?

villandra24
villandra24

Multinational corporations that run farms in the midwest need to stop forcing their workers to go potty in the fields instead of the bathrooms.   Don't hire illegal aliens might help as well.


Seriously, in my direct experience with these parasitic protozoan infections, the real problem is that they are hard to diagnose and doctors won't treat them.   One of mine did eventually respond to the bactrim that was prescribed for a different reason, but not before I permanently lost the ability to digest milk, that was never a problem before, and not until more than a year had gone by   AND, I'm now allergic to sulfa, like a really big percentage of the rest of the population, and the CDC are being idiots as usual.   

Really, doctors just need to begin treating persistent diarrheah instead of making patients suffer with it.  Then stuff like this would cease to be a problem.

cmlong0824
cmlong0824

thanks to this awesome parasite i lost over 25 lbs and also my mind, thanks for nothing.

heitzkari1
heitzkari1

One parasite away from my ideal weight ...

KMac
KMac

This may be worthless news to some of you but important to me.  I am a Paramedic and work in rural area with on specialist.  We transport 50 miles to specialist.  I have transported one case of this that 50 miles and no meds work on the vomiting.  50 miles of vomiting is not a real good experience.  These things spread through daycare and nursing homes pretty quickly and for some the effect is the final ride.  Has nothing to do with politics. My son works in large hospital in Austin and says they have seen several cases of this.  The ignorance of some on here is pretty amazing--must have not been around in the polio days, flu days of Hong Kong, or seen a mumps or measles epidemic.  Just think we could go back to the black plague days where 21 herbs and spices didn't work. 

KerriLynneReynolds
KerriLynneReynolds

Don't wanna sound weirded out but I might have had this and just gotten over it again. Last few days of May I had these symptoms and they went away after 10 days or so. Now I am realizing I have the same symptoms now. I think I got sick from eating subway products. I thought it was just the flu or whatever. I think now I contracted this by eating subway foods.

wildone@work
wildone@work

So people with the "craps" are sinners based on their political stance but only in specific states...and what if they only hop on their left foot on the 2nd Tuesday of the month? I'm pretty sure we can go with the theory that microbes aren't that discrementory. And I'm pretty sure we can theorize they don't acknowledge state lines either. Good money on this being more widespread but undereported. I know of several people in 2 states NOT mentioned in the news that had similiar complaints but were not tested for a subtropic microbe since they hadn't been out of the country. But hey, if guess they were too busy hanging out in the john to politicize their cramps.

JonathanSmith1
JonathanSmith1

MORE USELESS ANS IGNORANT NEWS FROM THOSE THAT WE RELY ON FOR HEALTH INFORMATION. THERE ARE PLANTS AND HERBS THAT CURE US AND PROTECT US FROM THESE MICROBES BUT WE RELY ON SYNTHETIC CHEMICALS AND FEAR MONGERING  FOR PROFIT.WHAT A SHAME. THE ANCIENTS WERE FAR WISER THAN WE ARE ABOUT HOW TO HEAL.

Lovethebeach90210
Lovethebeach90210

Guess those states have sinned against God and are dirty and white washed tombs in the eyes of the Lord, you notice how  none of those states are liberal, happy and open minded states that lack racism and have international people and good tourist industries dont you?

VictoriaEveRodriguez
VictoriaEveRodriguez

@robin1 I had these symptoms for a couple days and I blamed the cantaloupe i ate too!! I'm in NYC. 

ANYONE ELSE HAVE CANTALOUPE RECENTLY?

centralusa
centralusa

@villandra24really that's the problem? Maybe, some people should just wash and properly cook their food to kill the bacteria, and distance themselves from the people that are sick. And, if illegal aliens don't do the work, who is? Lazy Whites and Blacks? They don't want to work in 90-100 degree heat with low pay.

villandra24
villandra24

@KMac Please share more detail; I live in Austin and have yet to see a local hospital take zoonoses and the like at all seriously; got to the ER clearly very ill with something, and you'll be given tylenol and kept in a cold room for a few hours and then sent home.   They told me they really don't care what you might have; they care only if it's life threatening, and they basically treat everything with one protocol, so no reason to figure out, for instance, if you have west nile virus, or cyclospora, or whatever.  This was one of the Seton hospitals.

LyndaElaine
LyndaElaine

@KMac Maybe not, but it sure cleaned up the over population.

villandra24
villandra24

@KerriLynneReynolds Not directly relevant to cyclospora, but just so Kerri and others know, one is likely to catch something if one eats out alot, and hardly only at Subway.   In fact I'd lay greater odds of such a thing at McDonalds and Burger King, where workers are more likely to come to work sick and less likely to know enough to wash hands and not cough and drip on the food.   Most of the time when I come down with stomach flu, I've recently eaten at some short order place, often more than once.   Now, cyclospora isn't what you've most got to fear, and this isn't the best way to catch giardia and the like, either (that would be drinking your local tap water); the biggest risk of eating out is catching a stomach virus.   Some of them can last several weeks.  

villandra24
villandra24

@KerriLynneReynolds I've had direct experience with something of the sort.  Fact is there are several very common protozoan infections that can cause recurrent very persistent, severe diarrheah and the rest of it.  The others can all be caught from the tap water in most places in the U.S.; they get right through all but the best means of sterilizing the water; chlorine doesn't kill them, and they get through all but the very smallest filters.     All are easily treatable with common antibiotics.   Problem is (1) they are as hard to diagnose as they are easy to treat, and (2) doctors don't want to be bothered with treating it.   

ShawnL.Bushway
ShawnL.Bushway

@Lovethebeach90210 I consider myself more liberal than anything else and I find your comment beyond stupid - stop speaking for my side it's people like you that gives us a bad name.

Folsom
Folsom

@Lovethebeach90210 I agree with swcapenter and workingracket on this one... Really? Did you not pay attention in class at all or have any formal secondary education or even look to see what goes on in within your own country? Illinois is the breeding ground for liberalism with its capitol city Chicago. Iowa, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and New Jersey voted Democrat, most consider themselves liberal. The only two states that would even fit your description would be Texas and Georgia and you only believe that because of a select few your mainstream media slanders. Heck, remember the part where Kansas held its own during the Civil War to fight individuals from Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas in support of being a free state? Probably not... or how about the Brown v. Board of Education debacle that lead the nation to pave the way for non segregated schools?

JonathanSmith1
JonathanSmith1

@Lovethebeach90210 SOON THE PLAGUE WILL DESCEND UPON THOSE CHILDREN THAT HAVE SINNED AND HAVE DANCED AND DRANK AND CARRIED ON. SOON THE WRATH WILL BE UPON THOSE PEOPLE AS THE FIRE AND BRIMESTONE DESCEND FROM THE EARTH AND THE SKY BURNING THE WICKED WHILE THOSE NITWITS SUCH  AS YOU WILL BASK IN YOUR SELF RIGHTEOUS GLORY. ONLY THE EVIL STATES SHALL PERISH WHILE YOU AND YOUR BRETHERN IN THE GOOD STATES WILL SURVIVE THE WRATH. TELL ME WHERE THE GOOD STATES ARE BROTHER SO I MAY VENTURE THERE TO ESCAPE THE WRATH OF THE WICKED AND THE EVIL. I HOPE ITS NOT NEW JERSEY, I DON'T LIKE THE COLD AND THE TRAFFIC. HOWS TEXAS, IS THAT A GOOD STATE?

villandra24
villandra24

@KMac Wait - what I specifically want more details on is what which large hospital in Austin has seen more on.  NOT on population control and herbal medicine, thank you.

rippfx
rippfx

@LyndaElaine You would not being saying such a thing if you were the one infected. Even Atheists pray to God when faced with death.

Midwest2
Midwest2

@ShawnL.Bushway @rippfx @LyndaElaine Actually,although he was a Patron of Christiantiy on behalf of his mother introducing Christianity to him, Constantine didn't convert to Christianity until he was dying

ShawnL.Bushway
ShawnL.Bushway

@rippfx @LyndaElaine find a famous atheist that prayed to God before they died - also many atheists may say "f me" or "oh sh*t" these constitute nothing more than a figure of speech - not intended to be taken literally.