Cyclospora Outbreak Spreads: 102 Cases in Iowa

A rare parasite found on fruits and leafy vegetables is causing even more problems for people here in Siouxland and across Iowa.

102 cases of cyclospora have been recorded in Iowa so far. 4 of them are in Woodbury County, 3 in O'Brien County and one each in Plymouth and Monona Counties.

The intestinal illness caused by cyclospora can lead to severe diarrhea, loss of appetite and fatigue.

One problem facing health officials is that the parasite hasn't been studied much. And research didn't begin until the early 1990s.

"We do know that it's predominately found in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, and that in cases in people in the U.S. can be associated with travel to other countries; and can also be associated with eating food items that come from other counties. We don't yet know whether food items grown in the United States might in some situations be associated with outbreaks," says Barbara Herwaldt, a Medical Epidemiologist for the CDC.

Experts say it's not clear yet what's causing the outbreak but they say it's important to thoroughly wash fruits and veggies before eating them. If you think we may have and the parasite it's easily treated with antibiotics - you should see a doctor to be tested.