IDPH update: 71 cases of cyclosporiasis identified in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health, CDC and local public health agencies are investigating an outbreak of an intestinal illness caused by Cyclospora (a rare parasite). As of today, July 15th, 71 cases of Cyclospora infections have been reported to IDPH; almost all have been identified through testing at the State Hygienic Lab (SHL). Linn County in eastern Iowa continues to lead the state with 27 cases. Polk County has four and 17 other counties have at least one.  Three people have been hospitalized.

In western Iowa, there have been 3 confirmed cases in Dallas County, 2 in Mills County, and 1 case each in Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury Counties.  The numbers remain  unchanged from Friday with regard to those counties.

The illness is most commonly contracted by eating food or drinking water contaminated with human feces containing the cyclospora parasite. Iowa typically has just one or two cases a year, usually travelers. Officials believe fresh vegetables may be the culprit, but the investigation continues.

Consumers should wash fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of the illness, which causes diarrhea that lasts an average of 57 days.