Public health officials in Texas are currently investigating the Cyclospora outbreak happening around the city. According to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), an official health advisory was issued last Monday as a result of 68 reported cases in June.

Get to know Cyclospora

Cyclospora cayetanensis, or most commonly known as Cyclospora, is a protozoan that produces disease in humans. In the past years, Cyclospora epidemic has been linked to consumption of imported and fresh products in the United States. These include cilantro, pre-packaged salad mix, raspberries, snow peas, basil, and lettuce.

The health risk related to the disease is usually limited to foreigners ages from 18 and above. Accordingly, Cyclospora is mainly caused by "traveler's diarrhea," which is a stomach and intestinal infection.

“Most common symptom, as unpleasant as it is, is watery diarrhea that can persist for days and days, even months in some cases,” Chris Van Deusen said. Deusen is the DSHS Director of Media Relations and currently, leads the medical operation to kill the disease outbreak.

All the symptoms of the illness begin 2 to 14 days after the process of taking any food with Cyclospora oocysts. symptoms usually include but not limited to loss of appetite, severe fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, increased gas, nausea, and a little fever.

Diagnosing the infected individuals

According to a Texas-based health organization, at least 68 people are sick right now and diagnosed with cyclosporiasis. Illness was reported to officials starting mid-June of 2017, but the health advisory was issued just last Monday.

As of today, concerned officials are asking doctors to test each patient in the hospital or clinic especially if they suffer from diarrhea for the lasts few days.

The physicians are also advised to check people who are reported to experience other symptoms of Cyclospora.

To thoroughly diagnose this kind of illness, a patient will be required to pass stool specimens for “Ova and Parasite” testing or scientifically called as Parasitic Examination. O&P is a kind of exam used to detect the appearance and behavior of parasites in a stool sample and help diagnose a particular infection of human's digestive system.

According to health executives, infections from Cyclospora cayetanensis is hard to prevent. However, cooking can destroy it, and the parasite is endemic in areas with subtropical climates. It can be pass through human feces, which can contaminate food, water, and other substances that can be consumed.