Public health officials, regulatory officials, the CDC, and the U.S Food and Drug Administration are all investigating the outbreak of Cyclospora in numerous states across the United States.
The Cyclospora infections are connected to a bagged of salad mix that contained carrots, red cabbage and iceberg lettuce all produced by Fresh Express.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the outbreak has also expanded to the iceberg lettuce that is sold at Walmart. The microscopic organism is usually found on fresh produce that is eaten raw, like herbs such as cilantro and lettuces.
Health officials are also expressing concern that their consumers may have portions of the bagged salad greens still in their homes and may not have consumed it all, especially since the bagged salad greens are good until July. So far, four bagged salad mixes have been recalled by health officials on June 24 after 206 people were hospitalized due to Cyclospora.
Walmart is now recalling Marketside Classic Iceberg Salad, which is sold in 12-ounce bags and 24-ounce bags in stores in Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. The same salad mix can be bought at ALDI, Jewel-Osco, Hy-Vee and Walmart stores in the Midwest.
According to the CDC, the public should check their home if they have any of the recalled salad mixes. They urge the public to throw away any remaining salad mixes even if no one has gotten sick because of it or if half of the salad mix has already been eaten.
The CDC added that if any consumer lives in Iowa, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin or South Dakota, and do not know if the salad mix is the one that is being recalled, better be safe and just throw it away.
What is Cyclospora?
Cyclospora cayetanesis is a microscopic parasite that causes illness in the intestines. According to the CDC, the symptoms of Cyclospora include frequent or sometimes explosive bowel movements, watery diarrhea, weight loss, loss of appetite, bloating, stomach cramps or stomach pain, fatigue, nausea, and increased gas.
People who become infected with Cyclospora are those who ingested sporulated oocysts, which are a form of the parasite. It happens when the food or water is contaminated with the parasite and is consumed by the patient. Person-to -person transmission of the Cyclospora is unlikely as it can also be transmitted through consuming contaminated food and water.
As for the treatment, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, which is sold under the names Septra, Bactrim, and Cotrim, is the treatment for Cyclospora infection. There are not= alternative antibiotic regimen identified yet for those who do not respond to the medications above or if the patient is allergic to the medication.
Most patients who have healthy immune systems will recover from Cyclospora infection without treatment. If the infection is not treated, the illness may last for a few days to a month, sometimes longer. Sometimes the symptoms will die down and go away, and then come back again after a few weeks.
If experiencing diarrhea, check with your health care provider if the medication is safe before taking anything. Those who have a weak immune system may be at higher risk for severe illness.