It’s a small parasite with a big name – cyclospora. The parasite is causing a rash of intestinal infections in 15 states.
Last week, officials in Texas reported 48 new cases, and Jackson County, Mo., reported its first official case. In total, there are 353 cases in 15 states.
The cyclospora is a microscopic organism made of just one cell, which can cause cyclosporiasis – an infection of the small intestine.
Health officials still aren’t sure how people are ingesting the parasite, but in the past, it has been linked to eating contaminated produce. People in states across the country are experiencing a host of uncomfortable symptoms like watery diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite and fatigue.
These symptoms can last a few days or a month. Sometimes it lasts even longer. Despite the severe symptoms, CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen says the infection is not fatal.
“One thing that’s important to know is there are medicines that can help, so this is not something that we’re seeing people die from,” Cohen said.
Treatment usually involves antibiotics, fluids and a lot of rest.
The CDC says there is no vaccine for cyclospora, but says to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables to lessen the chance of ingestion.
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