The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Illinois public health officials are investigating a recent string of illnesses across multiple states. The illness is linked to a parasite often found in various kinds of fresh produce.

The parasite is known as Cyclospora. So far this year, the illness it causes, known as cyclosporiasis, it has resulted in 210 illnesses and 30 hospitalizes with 22 states reporting cases (thankfully, there are zero deaths at the time of this writing). The CDC has a breakdown of what exactly happens if one contract cyclosporiasis:

Multiple outbreaks of cyclosporiasis caused by different foods can be reported during the same year. Previous U.S. outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of fresh produce, including basil, cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, and snow peas. However, many cases of cyclosporiasis cannot be directly linked to an outbreak. Officials use questionnaires to interview sick people to determine what they ate in the 14-day period before getting sick. If a common food is found, CDC and partners work quickly to determine if the contaminated food is still available in stores or in peoples’ homes and issue advisories.

Essentially, it is an intestinal infection that can result in explosive bowel movements, stomach cramps, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, headache, fever, and body aches can also accompany infection.

Of the 210 reported illnesses, 1-5 of those cases have been reported in Illinois, as of late June. Cyclosporiasis cases tend to increase during the spring and summer.

Photo Credit: Ridofranz, GettyStock
Photo Credit: Ridofranz, GettyStock

The Iowa Department of Public Health investigated a large outbreak of cyclosporiasis back in August 2013, with 155 cases being identified in 39 different Iowa counties. Thankfully, we haven't seen such a resurgence of the illness in the Hawkeye State, but if the COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately taught us anything, it's anything is possible.

Thankfully, the CDC has a comprehensive breakdown of all things related to cyclosporiasis on their website. Here's what you should do if you think you might have the illness:

  • If you have symptoms of cyclosporiasis, see your healthcare provider. Your doctor can test you for cyclosporiasis. Treatment is available.
  • If you are sick with Cyclospora, local or state health officials may contact you to find out what you ate in the 2 weeks before you got sick. Please respond to their calls. This information helps us identify the contaminated food that made you sick. They may also ask for copies of receipts, permission to use your shopper card number, or collect leftover food for testing.

Read more about the recent outbreak of cyclosporiasis in Illinois on the Patch's website.

KEEP READING: See 25 natural ways to boost your immune system

More From Y105