A cyclospora outbreak has infected 285 people from around the country between mid-June and early July as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention try to identify the cause and where it started.
People can become infected with cyclospora, an intestinal illness, by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite, according to the CDC
Most of the patients became ill with the foodborne illness came from Iowa, Nebraska and Texas, reported WebMD.com
. At least eight people have been hospitalized, the website said. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the illnesses, but have not made any connections with specific food items.
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The CDC reported that people in 11 states have been affected. According to the agency's website, as of Thursday, cyclospora has infected 138 people in Iowa, 70 in Nebraska, 66 in Texas. Other states have reported three cases or less, the CDC website stated.
According to the Des Moines Register
, Iowa Department of Public Health reported that new cases of cyclospora in that state are beginning to slow. The Register said health officials patients developed the infection after eating tainted vegetables but it is still unknown what vegetables and where they came from.
There had been 10 confirmed cases of the parasite in Iowa over the previous 20 years, according to state official. Health officials continued to urge consumers to carefully wash produce and believe that tainted vegetables are no longer on store shelves.
In Texas, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported at least 16 cases of cyclospora there, officials told the Dallas Morning News.
"We still have people who may be contacting their physicians or the county reporting that they might be ill from this parasite," said Zach Thompson, director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services. "I don’t think we can relax. People are hearing more and more about it, and then they call and say they think they have the parasite."
CDC spokesperson Belen Moran told the Dallas Morning News the increase in diagnoses may come from people delaying to see a doctor when they become infected. Moran said that makes pinpointing where the disease came from harder to figure out.
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