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Fourteen more cases of cyclospora infection were reported Friday to Nebraska and Iowa public health officials, adding to the 12 that had come in over the past several days.
Officials still are trying to determine the source of the Cyclospora cayetanensis parasite, which causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis. They're telling physicians to be aware of the illness and to test specifically for the parasite.
The new Nebraska cases appear to be from the eastern part of the state, as did the earlier cases, according to a spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Most of the new Iowa cases were from central and eastern Iowa, said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. One case, she said, involved an Iowan who was tested in Omaha.
Cyclospora is spread by people ingesting food or water that is contaminated with feces. People living or traveling in tropical or subtropical regions of the world may be at increased risk for infection because cyclosporiasis is found in those areas. Foodborne outbreaks of the illness in the U.S. have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, such as raspberries, basil, snow peas and mesclun lettuce.
The symptoms of cyclospora infection can last for weeks in otherwise healthy people. They include fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal cramping and a low-grade fever.
People with compromised immune symptoms will have more severe and longer-lasting symptoms.