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Cyclospora Cases Rise to 30 in Linn County as Parasite Cases are Found in Texas and Wisconsin

Linn County continues to have the dubious distinction of having the most reported cyclospora cases in Iowa.

Cyclospora parasite (via CDC)
Cyclospora parasite (via CDC)

Continue washing those vegetables thoroughly.

The Gazette reported this week that the number of Cyclospora cases had increased to 30 in Linn County, making up a large portion of the 71 cases of the parasite-based illness reported in the state so far. If untreated can cause several weeks of diarrhea, loss of appetite, and stomach cramps.

Public health officials maintain the intestinal illness is likely not spreading. Rather, awareness about the infection is spreading, leading more people to be tested for the illness.

“We don’t think it means there is a lot of continuing exposure,” said Patricia Quinlisk, state epidemiologist and medical director at the Iowa Department of Public Health said last week. “We’re not sure yet because we don’t know what it is (that is causing the illness). We’re still recommending people wash off fruits and vegetables the best they can.”

So how do you catch this bug? 

Well, that comes from consuming food or water that has been contaminated with infected human feces. Historically this has been spread by different kinds of produce, although not nearly at the rate that it has been seen this year. Health officials stress thoroughly washing your produce and seeking treatment if you begin to experience the several days of watery diarrhea associated with the illness.

Meanwhile, cases of the rare illness have been reported in Wisconsin and Texas this week, joining the party with Iowa and Nebraska where over 100 cases have already been reported this summer. The total cases reported in all four states has now reached 206.

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