By BRAD KELLAR
A case of an individual infected as part of the Cyclospora outbreak has been confirmed in Hunt County.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said Friday that the local incident, the first in Hunt County, is one of 101 cases of Cyclospora infection which have been reported in Texas this month.
There were no additional details immediately released about the Hunt County incident. The state agency reported it is investigating all of the cases to identify possible common exposures. The majority of cases are from the Dallas and Fort Worth area.
The DSHS said the Texas cases may be linked to an ongoing multistate Cyclospora outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska. No common exposure source for the outbreak has been identified.
Past outbreaks have been associated with eating imported fresh produce. Thorough washing of fresh produce is recommended as a general precaution.
As of Friday the other counties which have reported Cyclospora infection include Collin, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Ellis, Hood, Johnson, Montague, Parker, Potter, Smith, Tarrant, Tom Green, Travis, Victoria and Williamson.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope, which causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis.
Cyclospora is spread by people ingesting something - such as food or water - that was contaminated with feces (stool). 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. The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about one 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.
Anyone who believes they are infected with the parasite is advised to contact their health care provider right away.