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Nationwide Cyclospora Outbreak: Iowa & Nebraska Cases Linked to Bagged Salad, Cilantro

Beginning in mid-June, a cyclospora outbreak spread across the U.S., according to public health officials. The outbreak spread to several states, and as of September 4, 2013, public health officials from Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York (including New York City), Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming had reported over 600 cyclospora cases related to the outbreak.

A total of 270 cases of Cyclospora infection were reported in Texas in 2013 with the vast majority having onsets in June and July. Most Texas cases were reported from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. DSHS investigated the cases to identify possible common exposures and to determine whether they were linked to an outbreak in other states. In October, the public health agency said about half the Cyslospora-positive case-patients in Texas had reported eating fresh cilantro before becoming ill. Preliminary traceback information indicated three restaurants in Texas received contaminated cilantro.

At least 49 people were hospitalized due to the severity of their cyclospora infections.

On July 30, 2013, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced that bagged salad was the source of the outbreak; on August 2, the supplier of the bagged salad was identified as Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V.

According to a press release from the Food and Drug Administration, a traceback investigation led to the determination that four restaurant-related cyclospora clusters could be traced to the Taylor Farms lettuce mix.


The ingestion of cyclospora parasites causes cyclosporiasis, an infection that is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • watery diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • bloating
  • cramping
  • increased gas
  • nausea
  • fatigue

Most people who have healthy immune systems will recover from cyclosporiasis without treatment.

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