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Stomach Bug Sickens 300 in Several States; Origin Still a Mystery

By Alexandra Ward   |   Thursday, 25 Jul 2013 07:02 AM

The mysterious stomach bug that's working its way across the U.S. has now sickened nearly 300 people in several states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an update on its website Wednesday.

The cyclospora infection has spread to at least 275 people in multiple states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Connecticut, and New Jersey, according to the CDC.

"CDC really has their hands full with this one," Dr. Richard Besser, chief health medical correspondent for ABC News, told the news network.

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The one-celled parasite causes diarrhea, stomach cramps, and other stomach bug symptoms, and public health officials suspect it came from contaminated food. The CDC and Food and Drug Administration are currently pursuing leads to find out what caused the outbreak.

In the mean time, anyone with stomach bug-like symptoms is encouraged to see a doctor, as health officials can prescribe antibiotics that can wipe out the microbe.

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"Doctors can diagnose it by looking for either the parasite itself or eggs of the parasite in a stool sample," Dr. Nicole Bouvier, an infectious diseases professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told ABC News. "They have to do it with a microscope because it's tiny. You can't see it with your naked eye. It's not like a worm."

Though the infection does not spread person-to-person, the CDC still suggests that people wash their hands and be extra careful around those with immunodeficiency diseases.

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