Cyclospora cases rise in unexplained outbreak

Federal officials have reported an increase of more than 12 cases in the past week in an outbreak of infection from the Cyclospora parasite.

The Food and Drug Administration says it now has 77 confirmed cases, compared with 60 a week ago. Authorities have yet to identify which foods are the source of the parasite.

The agency reports that the number of patients is rising steadily, as the number rose from 51 last week to 60. The FDA has not released the patient’s age group or state of residence.

A traceback effort was initiated in connection with the outbreak, but the FDA has not reported any foodstuffs it is tracing. Similarly, authorities have begun collecting and testing samples, but have yet to reveal which foods or production sites are subject to the tests.

The FDA also reports that it has initiated a traceback effort in connection with another outbreak of Cyclospora infection, but the FDA has not disclosed which foods or foodstuffs are being traced. As of 10 August, there were 6 confirmed cases. The FDA does not disclose the patient’s age group or state of residence.

Other FDA outbreak investigations ongoing as of August 10 include:

  • A study of the adverse effects associated with Daily Harvest brand frozen Leaks & Lentil Crumbles. The company has received more than 470 complaints of his illness, and as of the last report on July 29, the FDA had received 329 complaints of him. Some patients developed liver failure and at least 25 had to have their gallbladders removed. The FDA is working on a traceback effort and has begun field inspections and product testing. Some tests have revealed that cod flour is a unique ingredient in Daily Harvest’s crumble products and may be linked to disease.
  • An outbreak of hepatitis A infection attributed to fresh strawberries has made at least 19 people sick and 13 hospitalized. These potentially contaminated strawberries were imported from the northern Mexican state of Baja California, branded as FreshKampo and HEB, and distributed nationwide. The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to investigate the outbreak. Sick people have also been reported in Canada.
  • Outbreak of “adverse events” involving 558 patients who ate Lucky Charms cereal. The investigation is ongoing and the FDA is conducting field investigations and trials.
  • Outbreak of infection with Listeria monocytogenes from Big Olaf ice cream produced in Florida. A total of 25 confirmed cases have been reported, with 1 death and 1 fetal loss. The patient reports that he is scattered across 11 states, and many of the patients traveled to Florida before becoming ill. Tests found Listeria in the manufacturing plant and in 16 of Big Olaf’s 17 flavors of his ice cream. The company is closed by the state until further notice.
  • Cronobacter infections occurred in four infants, one of whom died. The outbreak has been determined by the CDC to be over, but is still under investigation.

Click the table to enlarge. Click here to view the FDA’s page with links to details of the specific outbreak.

The table above provides information about outbreak investigations administered by FDA’s CORE Response Teams. The investigation is in various stages. Some outbreaks are under active investigation with limited information, while others are nearing completion. The table has been truncated to show only ongoing investigations.

Click here to go to the FDA page with links to details of the specific outbreak.

According to the FDA, public health advisories are issued for investigations that result in specific and actionable steps that consumers can take to protect themselves. Please pay attention to these pages.

Investigations of outbreaks and adverse events do not lead to concrete, actionable steps for consumers, and may not ultimately identify sources or reveal contributing factors. Adverse event investigations rely on self-reported data. Although these reports may name specific products, the FDA only lists product categories in the table and will not release the product until there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the product causes illness or adverse events. We do not name specific products. FDA is committed to providing a summary of those findings when causes and/or contributing factors are identified that may aid in future prevention.

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