What is Cyclospora?
Cyclospora is a relatively small parasitic spore that is mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions, such as Haiti, but which relatively rare in the United States. It is not contagious, but rather is spread by feces, or through food or water that is contaminated with feces. When cyclospora enter the body, they enter the small intestine, where symptoms will usually show up within a week or two.
Some people who become infected never see symptoms. But in other cases, the victim may develop cyclosporiasis, which can cause significant gastrointestinal illness, including frequent and potentially explosive watery diarrhea. They may also experience dehydration, serious weight loss, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, fatigue and possibly vomiting. In many cases, infection can lead to flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache and body ache.
Cyclosporiasis infection is rarely life-threatening, although some of the symptoms can be more severe for children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Without treatment, cyclosporiasis symptoms can persist for eight weeks or more. In some cases, symptoms such as diarrhea may go away and then return, and the flu-like symptoms may continue long after the gastrointestinal symptoms dissipate.
Diagnosis of cyclospora infection is often very difficult, in part because the symptoms look like many other food borne illnesses, but also because the spores are very tiny, and it doesn’t take many them to cause illness. This may be why many previous cases of suspected cyclospora infection were unable to be confirmed. There is also no vaccine available to prevent it.
Based on information that is currently available, the best way to avoid cyclospora infection is to avoid food or water that may have been contaminated with feces, or to wash all produce thoroughly. This doesn’t always work, however. Scientists still don’t understand exactly how food and water becomes contaminated with cyclospora, but they do know that poor agricultural practices during growing and harvesting and improper food handling seem to be contributing factors. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) develops and publishes detailed food safety recommendations for growers and suppliers, but often these procedures are not followed, or the produced is imported from a country without regard to U.S. standards.
The Texas Cyclospora Food Poisoning Lawyer at Hill Law Firm has years of experience taking on some of the largest companies in the United States in cases of food borne illnesses. If you or a loved one has been sickened, and you believe that food contamination or poisoning may be the reason, see a doctor immediately. But then, please call the Texas Food Poisoning Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm immediately after, to protect your rights.