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FDA Investigates 2014 Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis

See FDA Investigates 2015 Outbreaks of Cyclosporiasis for recent outbreak information.

August 28, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials in Texas have been investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora infections.

What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Texas officials have been investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora infections in the state of Texas.  According to the CDC, reported cyclosporiasis cases have returned to baseline levels in Texas.

As of August 26, 2014, CDC has been notified of 133 cases of Cyclospora infection in Texas among Texas residents who did not travel outside the country within the two weeks prior to becoming ill.  Four hospitalizations have been reported in Texas.  Texas state health officials reported that most cases of the illness occurred in June and July 2014.

Epidemiological and traceback investigations have been conducted at four different restaurants in Texas, where multiple unrelated ill persons reportedly have eaten. All the ill persons in these four clusters reported having eaten a food item containing fresh cilantro in the 2-14 days before they became ill.  Preliminary FDA and Texas state traceback investigation indicates that cilantro suppliers in Puebla, Mexico were a source of the cilantro that was served at the four restaurants.

FDA has begun increased surveillance sampling on cilantro imported from firms in the Puebla, Mexico region.  The FDA will continue working with Mexican authorities to determine if there is a common farm or growing area in Puebla, Mexico, which could have provided the fresh cilantro linked to the 2014 outbreak.

What is Cyclospora?
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope. This parasite causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis.

Cyclospora is acquired by people ingesting something - such as food or water - that was contaminated with the parasite.  Cyclospora needs time (days to weeks) after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person. Therefore, it is unlikely that Cyclospora is passed directly from one person to another.

For more information on Cyclospora: disclaimer icon

Who is at Risk?
People can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite.  People living or travelling in countries where cyclosporiasis is endemic, including certain tropical or subtropical regions of the world may be at increased risk for infection.

What are the Symptoms?
The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about 1 week. Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, 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. Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms.  If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse). It’s common to feel very tired.

What do Consumers Need to Do?
Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. At home, wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.  Fresh produce should be thoroughly washed before it is eaten.

If more specific information becomes available, FDA and CDC will share it with the public, along with any steps consumers can take to prevent illnesses.

Who should be Contacted? 
Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the website: .

The information in this release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available.  

For more information:


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