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Cyclospora Outbreak Surfaces in Florida

The Florida Department of Health says there are now 24 cases of the stomach bug cyclospora in Florida. One patient has been hospitalized.

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[Cyclospora parasite]

Florida is one of 14 states battling cylcospora- a nasty parasitic illness that causes diarrhea that can last for months. The source of this outbreak is unknown, but previous outbreaks have been linked to fresh produce.  The Florida Department of Health’s Dr. Carina Blackmore says your best defense is to eat local. “It’s a good way of protecting yourself because cyclospora is typically found on imported fruits and veggies,” she said.

Cyclospora is caused by a single-celled parasite that infects the small intestine, causing diarrhea with frequent bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever and other flu-like symptoms may be noted.

Cyclospora is not contagious and cannot be passed directly from one person to another. It is most commonly spread by ingesting water or uncooked food that was contaminated with human feces. Infections are most commonly linked to imported herbs, vegetables and berries. People are being advised to make sure all produce is washed thoroughly. Additionally, Blackmore says anyone who has a stomach bug lasting more than a few days should see a doctor. 


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