Cyclosporiasis Outbreak: Watery Diarrhea Illness Spreads Across New York and 22 Other States

There is an illness that causes explosive watery diarrhea spreading in New York State, which has also been reported in 22 other states.

It is called Cyclosporiasis, a parasitic infection that can cause watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about 1 week. The illness is spread through contaminated food or water and can be treated with antibiotics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 21-30 reported cases of Cyclosporiasis in New York State so far in 2023. Most cases have been reported in the Finger Lakes region, but cases have also been reported in other parts of the state.

“Cyclospora is spread by people ingesting something—such as food or water—that was contaminated with feces (stool). Cyclospora needs time (typically, at least 1–2 weeks) after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person,” the CDC states, according to HUDSON VALLEY POST.

Thus far, the CDC reports that there have been 210 recent illnesses across the 22 states, with 30 of these people having been hospitalized. The good news is that no fatalities have been reported.

The CDC is urging people to take steps to prevent Cyclosporiasis, including:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food.
  • Cooking food thoroughly.
  • Avoiding contact with feces, especially from animals.
  • Drinking only bottled or boiled water.
  • Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
  • If you think you may have Cyclosporiasis, see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent complications.

Here are some additional details about Cyclosporiasis:

  • It is caused by a parasite called Cyclospora cayetanensis.
  • The parasite is found in contaminated food and water, especially in areas with poor sanitation.
  • The parasite can survive for weeks in contaminated water and food.
  • Symptoms usually start 1 week after infection but can start anywhere from 1 day to 6 weeks after infection.
  • Symptoms usually last 1-2 weeks, but can last for several months.
  • Cyclosporiasis can be treated with antibiotics.
  • There is no vaccine to prevent Cyclosporiasis.

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