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Cyclospora patient count grows in outbreak of unknown origin


Federal officials report that the number of patients in an outbreak of infections from the Cyclospora parasite have increased by more than a dozen in the past week.

The Food and Drug Administration says there are now 77 confirmed patients compared with 60 a week ago. The agency has not yet determined what food is the source of the parasite.

The agency reports that the patient count is steadily increasing as the number of patients increased to 60 this past week, up from 51 the week before last. The FDA has not released the age range of patients or their states of residence.

Traceback efforts have begun in relation to the outbreak, but the FDA has not reported what food or foods it is tracing. Similarily, the agency has begun sample collection and testing but it has not yet revealed what food or production location is subject to that testing.

The FDA also reports that it has begun traceback efforts in relation to a separate outbreak of Cyclospora infections, but the agency has not revealed what food or foods are being traced. As of Aug. 10, there were 6 confirmed patients in the outbreak. The FDA did not release the patients’ age range or states of residence.

Other FDA outbreak investigations underway as of Aug. 10 include:

  • An investigation related to adverse effects associated with Daily Harvest brand frozen Leeks & Lentils Crumbles. The company has received more than 470 complaints of illnesses and as of its last report on July 29 the FDA had received 329 complaints. Some of the patients have gone into liver failure and at least 25 have had to have their gallbladders removed. The FDA is working on traceback efforts and has begun on-site inspection and product testing. Some testing has revealed that tara flour is an ingredient unique to the Daily Harvest crumbles product and could be related to the illnesses.
  • An outbreak of hepatitis A infections traced to fresh strawberries that has sickened at least 19 people with 13 having been hospitalized. These potentially contaminated strawberries were imported from Baja California, a state in northern Mexico, and branded as FreshKampo and HEB and distributed nationwide. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to investigate the outbreak. There have also been reports of sick people in Canada.
  • An outbreak of “adverse events” involving 558 patients who ate Lucky Charms cereal. The investigation is ongoing and the FDA is conducting on-site inspections and testing.
  • An outbreak of infections from Listeria monocytogenes traced to Big Olaf ice cream produced in Florida. A total of 25 confirmed patients have been reported with one death and one fetal loss. The patients are spread across 11 states and many of the sick people reported travel to Florida before becoming ill. Testing has shown Listeria in the manufacturing plant and in 16 of 17 flavors of Big Olaf ice cream. The company has been closed down by the state until further notice.
  • An outbreak of infections from Cronobacter in four infants, one of whom died. The outbreak has been determined to be over by the CDC, but is it still under investigation. The babies consumed infant formula made by Abbott Nutrition’s plant in Sturgis, MI.

Click on table to enlarge. To view the FDA page with links to specific outbreak details, click here.

The table above shows information about outbreak investigations being managed by FDA’s CORE Response Teams. The investigations are in a variety of stages. Some outbreaks have limited information with active investigations ongoing, others may be near completion. The table has been abbreviated to show only active investigations.

Click here to go to the FDA page with links to specific outbreak details.

public health advisory will be issued for investigations that have resulted in specific, actionable steps for consumers to take to protect themselves, according to the FDA. Please direct your attention to those pages for the most up to date information on the investigation and for consumer protection information.

Outbreak and adverse event investigations that do not result in specific, actionable steps for consumers may or may not conclusively identify a source or reveal any contributing factors. Adverse event investigations rely on self-reported data. Although these reports may name a particular product, FDA will only indicate a product category in the table and will not publicly name a specific product until there is sufficient evidence to implicate that product as a cause of illnesses or adverse events. If a cause and/or contributing factors are identified that could inform future prevention, FDA commits to providing a summary of those findings.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here)



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