When will experts determine the source of Cyclospora? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

When will experts determine the source of Cyclospora?


There are ten new cases of Cyclospora in Texas, and some of those are right here in East Texas.

While Iowa and Nebraska have tied the outbreak to contaminated food from farms in Mexico, several other states, including Texas, are still trying to track down the source.

"Trace back is very critical; FDA (Food and Drug Administration) wants us always to be able to track our food one step forward and one step back. If the people say they ate this product, they go to those places and they talk to those people, and then they look to see if there are other people who ate in a similar place or similar chain of establishments. When they find that out, they ask the restaurant, 'Where do you get your food supply?'" said Brenda Elrod with the Smith County Public Health District.

The FDA believes a Mexican farm sold contaminated salad mixes to Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in Nebraska and Iowa.

"As a matter of fact, the Food and Drug Administration is sending some people there to analyze that particular plant. The jury is still out in Texas, but we are still working on it and hope to have an answer soon," said Dr. Paul McGaha, Regional Medical Director with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Dr. McGaha said the time between becoming infected and becoming sick is about a week.

The symptoms?

"Extreme diarrhea, stomach bloating, stomach symptoms," he explained. 

"This is a little parasite that gets in your gut and it likes it there," said Elrod.

The source of the cyclospora infections here in East Texas has not been identified just yet, but experts are saying that food safety precautions could reduce your risk of catching the infection.

They advise using hot soapy water to wash your hands, utensils and surfaces. When it comes to fresh produce, make sure you are washing that thoroughly, too.

"You can minimize the number of those little critters that are on that lettuce or that tomato, if you simply wash them really well. Don't put bleach on them, don't put soap on them, just wash them down vigorously. Just those simple steps will save you," Elrod said.

Cyclospora can be treated with antibiotics.

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