It’s the largest Cyclospora outbreak the country has seen in almost two decades and it’s hitting hard in Iowa.
145 Cyclospora infections have been reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Diarrhea lasting an average of 57 days, fatigue, and stomach cramps are just a few of the symptoms of Cyclospora, an infection that’s hitting Iowans hard.
“You don’t want to ignore this,” said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor.
The culprit is a prepackaged salad mix that had iceberg and romaine lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage. The same prepackaged salad mix has been linked to at least 80% of the cases.
Health officials won’t identify the brand, but say the salad mix is no longer in Iowa’s food supply chain and at no time was an Iowa grown fruit or vegetable suspected to be the cause of the outbreak.
“We don’t think there’s any reason for consumers to alter their consumption habits, restaurant or food choices,” said Dr. Thomas Stefranek, Nebraska State Epidemiologist.
But that doesn’t mean Iowans aren’t the ones getting sick. Of the 378 cases reported across the country, 145 cases have been in Iowa. So far, none have been reported in the Quad Cities area.
Health officials say bagged salads and all other vegetables are safe, but add it is always a good idea to wash all fresh fruits and vegetables to protect yourself from diseases like Cyclospora.
“If you’re buying ready to eat, get the coldest you can find, check the expiration date, throw away any damaged leaves and then use it right away. Cut way back on the chances of getting sick,” said Dr. Besser.
Four cases have been reported in Illinois. At least one of those cases may have come from out of state.