Cyclospora cases cropping up in Kansas and Missouri - KCTV5 News

Cyclospora cases cropping up in Kansas and Missouri

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If you haven't heard of cyclospora yet, listen up. It's a food-borne illness spreading across America, and now cases are cropping up in the metro.

Late Friday afternoon the Missouri State Health Department confirmed two cases of cyclospora, one in Jackson County and the other in Taney County, in southwest Missouri. There is one reported case of someone with the parasite in Kansas as well, but investigators believe that person got sick out of state.

So far, no one has died from the illness, and health departments across the country are working to make sure that doesn't happen.

Investigators have not determined the source of the widespread parasite wreaking havoc across the U.S., but they believe the cases date back to mid-June and early July.

Cyclospora is usually linked to fruit, vegetables and water contaminated with feces. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

Out of all the states affected by the outbreak, Iowa has been hit the hardest with 140 cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to find out whether all the people, who got sick, were contaminated by the same source.

Food-related illnesses kill about 3,000 people every year in the U.S. and hospitalize about 130,000 others.

In the midst of this recent outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unveiled a new proposal which would require food importers to verify their supplies and ensure they are meeting the same safety standards required in the U.S. The new proposal would also tighten food safety audits overseas.

"We need a food safety system that focuses on prevention, and identifying the points of vulnerability wherever they are in the food chain and in the manufacturing process," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.

Doctors said the parasite can be particularly dangerous to people with weaker immune systems.

Cyclospora is known to thrive in tropical climates.

Investigators spoke to those people from Iowa to see if they traveled overseas in recent weeks, which they haven't, so that suggests they might have contracted the bug at home.

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