A parasitic illness outbreak has sickened at least 22 Florida restaurant customers in the last month. The cyclosporiasis outbreak has hit patients in 11 states, sending four to hospitals. Tainted fresh basil seems to be the cause of the illness, the CDC said. Officials with the CDC, several states and public health and regulatory agencies are working to prevent the spread of infections.
Cyclosporiasis is an illness caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanesis. The CDC's analysis of epidemiologic information indicates that contaminated fresh basil from Mexico is the likely cause of many of the illnesses across the country, but Florida officials have not yet confirmed the link.
It is unknown at this time if all reported cases of Cyclospora infection in the United States are linked to fresh basil. Other possible sources are also being investigated, authorities said. People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with faeces or stool that contain the parasite.
As of July 24, a total of 132 people with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections associated with this outbreak have been reported from 11 states. Exposures were reported at restaurants in four states (Florida, Minnesota, New York, and Ohio).