UPDATE August 2, 2013
More than 370 cases of Cyclospora have been confirmed across the nation including 25 cases in Florida and four more in Georgia.
The bug causes flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, fatigue and stomach pains. It occurs after produce and fruits are contaminated with feces.
Dr. Carina Blackmore works for the Florida Department of Health. She says an outbreak like this current one could have started 6 to 8 weeks ago, which makes it harder for victims to remember everything that was on their plate.
"It's difficult for anyone to remember what they ate that far back and especially the kind of detail that we need," said Blackmore.
Details include everything from the food to the spices that went into the preparation. That's why time is so important for the agency to start asking questions as soon as possible.
One easy step that can help prevent you from getting cyclospora is something you do everyday. It's by cleaning off all fresh produce. But that's not a 100 percent safeguard against the disease.
According to the CDC: "On the basis of the currently available information, avoiding food or water that may have been contaminated with feces is the best way to prevent cyclosporiasis. Treatment with chlorine or iodine is unlikely to kill Cyclospora oocysts. No vaccine for cyclosporiasis is available.”
August 1, 2013
Both the Florida and Georgia health departments are now investigating cases of a stomach bug that has infected people in 15 different states.
The gastrointestinal illness known as cyclosporiasis has infected more than 370 people in 15 different states.
Florida officials are investigating 25 cases of the illness, while Georgia officials have only seen 4 cases. In Nebraska and Iowa, health officials linked prepackaged salads to the reason behind the illnesses. But here, officials say they still haven't found a common link to restaurants or food ingredients. Cyclospora causes diarrhea, stomach pains, fatigue, and other flu-like symptoms.
The best way to reduce your risk of the illness is to wash any fruits or vegetables before you eat them.. and also wash your hands and utensils and surfaces before and after you prepare a meal.