Since June, the CDC has been notified of nearly 400 cases of infection by the parasite Cyclospora in seventeen states. At least twenty-two people have been hospitalized because of this outbreak.
Health officials from Iowa and Nebraska, where the earliest reports originated, have said that infections in their states were linked to a bagged salad mix containing iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as carrots and red cabbage, according to a report in Medpage Today.
Cyclospora is a one-celled organism that colonizes the gastrointestinal tract and reproduces by shedding ova into the feces of infected individuals. Poor hygiene and contaminated water will spread the infection. An infected individual will suffer watery diarrhea and may also have fever and flu-like symptoms. If not treated appropriately, the condition may result in serious dehydration.
According to health officials from Iowa and Nebraska, the suspect products had outlived their shelf lives, and were no longer available for purchase at least in those states.
ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava commented This is not the first time salad components have been found to be contaminated by bacterial or other disease-causing entities. It s important to emphasize that all such foods that are consumed without cooking should be thoroughly washed to minimize the chance of food borne illness.