The Texas Department of State Health Services has reported that 205 people have contracted Cyclosporiasis after eating cilantro contaminated with the bacterium Cyclospora. Nine Texas counties have been affected by the contaminated cilantro. Travis County has reported the most cases with 77, followed by 17 cases in Dallas County, 9 cases in Collin County, 9 cases in Tarrant County, and 8 cases in Denton County. Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, and Rockwall counties have all reported one case of Cyclospora poisoning. Wisconsin has also reported eight cases of the illness.
This is not the first time that cilantro from the Puebla region of Mexico has caused a Cyclospora outbreak. In fact, this is the third year in a row that contaminated cilantro has caused an outbreak. In 2013, 270 people were sickened because of cilantro from the Puebla region of Mexico. In 2014, 133 Texans contracted Cyclospora. Because of the recurring outbreaks, the FDA launched an investigation regarding the cilantro farms. Investigators found human feces and toilet paper in some of the cilantro fields, and uncovered that the fields were being irrigated with water that was contaminated with sewage. These conditions are conducive for Cyclospora growth.
Cyclosporiasis is an illness caused by the bacterium Cyclospora. Once someone is exposed to the bacterium, it will take between 2 and 11 days before symptoms will appear. A Cyclospora infection will generally cause symptoms including watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, vomiting, fever, and fatigue. The illness will last a few days for those with healthy immune systems, although it may last over a month if left untreated. If you or a loved one has persistent diarrhea over a few days, and it either does not go away or comes back, contact your doctor. Cyclospora infections are treated with antibiotics that will help end the infection.