Protecting your family from cyclospora

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

SHERMAN, TX -- Texoma doctors are on the lookout for Cyclospora, the parasitic outbreak with more than 100 cases near Texoma.

Cyclospora is a parasitic illness that attacks ones gastro-intestinal system. The CDC has not pin-pointed exactly what the cause of the outbreak is. But, Iowa and Nebraska health officials are linking the outbreak to bagged salad.

It hasn't reached Texoma, but we spoke with residents who aren't taking the chance.

Jeri Cluck spent part of her Wednesday afternoon shopping at the Denison Farmer's Market for locally grown produce.

"I'm always going to be sticking with shopping here. The people raise it on the own property you know. They take care of it because it's not a vast amount of stuff so they can take care of it easier maybe," Cluck said.

Other shoppers feel the same way. They say the Cyclospora outbreak is just another reason why they choose to buy from local farmers.

"Because I know my farmers. I know where my food is coming from," Sarah Sparksduran said.

Health officials say the parasitic illness has not reached Cooke, Grayson, Fannin or Lamar counties or Oklahoma yet.

It has reached counties nearby, including Montague, Denton, Dallas and Collin.

One local doctor says the parasite needs about two weeks to infect produce. Then, once someone eats it, it takes about a week before severe diarrhea and other flu like symptoms occur.

"The key to differentiating this one to some of the others is the length of time it lasts," Dr. Mark Buckner said. "This one can last for days, weeks, sometimes even months if untreated."

You're advised to wash your vegetables thoroughly, even scrub them with a soft bristle brus or cook them.

"When I'm prepping fresh fruits and vegetables I normally just rinse them off in a little bit of water with a little bit of vinegar mixture," Sparksduran said. "Just to help sanitize vegetables. And i think it's always good to do that."

"The main thing I think patients should know is that if this goes on for more than three, four days, it's not a viral infection. They should come in and be tested for this so that we can treat it," Dr. Buckner said.

Cyclospora can be treated with antibiotics.
As of July 31, 126 people have contracted it in Texas, and 21 people have been hospitalized around the U.S.


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