Cyclosporiasis Reported in SD
by Betsy Jibben, Reporter
August 16, 2013 10:30 PM
An intestinal illness that has made more than 500 people sick in the United States has now been reported in South Dakota.
A Sturgis area resident has the state’s first case of Cyclosporiasis since 2008.
Cyclosporiasis is caused by a parasite on contaminated food or water that is usually imported from different countries. With hundreds of cases in 19 states, it doesn’t seem so rare anymore.
Cyclosporiasis is different from infections we often talk about, like E-Coli or Salmonella.
It can't be contracted by not washing your hands or another person's lack of hygiene.
A person gets Cyclospora from wherever that parasite is residing. That could be in water, lettuce, produce or even from the soil. If left untreated, it can stay in your system for months.
"It has several days of pretty severe symptoms. It can let up a little bit. Then it tends to come and go within a couple of months,” said Gastrologist Dr. Christopher Hurley, Avera Medical Group.
There have been 153 cases reported in Iowa and 56 in Nebraska. Most of those cases were reported in June and July. The outbreak has since been linked to a packaged salad mix from a Mexico facility that has now stopped producing.
With only one case in South Dakota so far, some doctors say the infected person may not have even contracted the parasite in this state.
"One would expect since they had it several weeks ago and now we are starting to see something here, that they perhaps they had some kind of contact with the areas that was initially affected,” said Hurley.
It's unknown whether all these cases are from the same outbreak of Cyclosporiasis.
"If they do identify a specific, newer source, then we have to look towards that problem," said Hurley.
Doctors say the illness can be similar to the flu with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea. It can be difficult to identify at first, but the proper treatment is an antibiotic. Doctors say if you think you have it, make sure you get tested for it.
There are some things you can do to try to prevent the illness. Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables. Even if lettuce comes packaged in a bag, it could still carry it.