VIDEO: Foodborne stomach bug pops up in Smith County

The rupturing oocyst of cyclospora cayetanensis is viewed under differential interference contrast microscopy. One sporocyst has has been released from the mature oocyst; the second sporocyst is still contained within the oocyst wall. Two cases of the intestinal illness cyclosporiasis, caused by cyclospora cayetanensis, have been reported in Smith County. (CDC/Courtesy)

The Northeast Texas Public Health District Thursday confirmed that there have been two confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in Smith County. Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the parasite cyclospora cayetanensis.

As of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 285 cases in at least eight states. Most of those cases were reported in Iowa. At least 18 people have been hospitalized in three states.

It is a foodborne illness, but no single food has been implicated. However, health officials are pointing to fresh vegetables.

“People get infected by consuming food or water contaminated from this parasite,” said George Roberts, chief executive officer at NET Health. “What we advise is that if people start having intestinal issues that extend more than seven days to see a doctor. It can be treated with antibiotics.”

Symptoms include diarrhea, cramping, nausea, weight loss, bloating and gas. The symptoms can last for more than a month if untreated. Roberts said proper washing of produce might cut the risk of developing an intestinal illness.

“I think the main thing is to always wash fruits and vegetables whether you buy them from the store or pick them in the garden.”


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