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UPDATE: Rare Parasite is Affecting More Iowans With Less Than Ideal Symptoms

Iowa Public Health officials are searching for the cause of a statewide Cyclospora outbreak, an illness that carries symptoms that include weeks of severe diarrhea if untreated.

Wash those fresh fruits and veggies for a few extra minutes tonight because Iowans continue to be diagnosed with a formidable intestinal bug, state officials said Monday.

Public health officials are reporting that as of Monday 71 Iowans have been infected with a rare parasite called Cyclospora, which can infect those who come down with it with up to 57 days of severe diarrhea if untreated, the Iowa Department of Public Health says.

Experts recommend that anyone who has serious diarrhea lasting more than two days go to a doctor for testing, reports USA Today. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, which can cut the duration of the illness.

Only 10 such cases had been reported in the state in the past 20 years, according to the Des Moines Register.

The Register also reports that Linn County continues to have by far the most cases, with 21. Fayette, Polk and O’Brien counties each have three. Dallas, Mills, Webster and Des Moines counties each have had two. Benton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Johnson, Pottawattamie, Van Buren and Woodbury each have had one.

Iowa Now reports that in the past, Clyclospora has been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, including raspberries, basil, snow peas and mesclun lettuce.

No commercially frozen or canned produce has been implicated.

"We've had cases that have been involved with lettuce, with berries, so we are looking at those fresh produce options that our patients have eaten,"Heather Meador, Linn County Public Health Nurse, told KWWL.

The State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa is working with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the source of an outbreak of cyclosporiasis, according to Iowa Now.
Additional information is available on the IDPH website.

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