Cyclospora Infection (Cyclosporiasis) (cont.)
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Cyclospora Infection Causes and Risk Factors
Cyclospora infection (cyclosporiasis) is caused by a parasite that infects human small intestinal tract cells. The parasite is named Cyclospora cayetanensis; it's a single-cell parasite that can only be viewed with a microscope. The parasite was recently discovered in 1977 and only named in 1994. The parasite has a complicated life cycle that requires development in human intestinal cells. It shows that sporulated oocysts are the infective stage of the parasite (sporozoites infect small intestinal cells after oocysts spore breaks open, a process termed excystation that is followed by several developmental steps). After development, unsporulated oocysts passed out of the body in feces must mature in the environment (become sporulated) before they can become able to infect another human.
Anyone at any age is at risk of getting cyclosporiasis if they ingest water or foods contaminated with sporulated oocysts. Most individuals infected live in tropical or subtropical regions. Most of the U.S. outbreaks have been relatively small and linked to imported fresh produce (raspberries, snow peas, basil, and lettuce) but not to frozen or canned produce. A large outbreak began in June 2013, which was at least partially linked to imported salad mix. This large outbreak (as of July 25, about 321 individuals in about 12 states) is being investigated by the CDC. Currently, the states with the largest numbers of infected individuals are Iowa, Nebraska, and Texas. At least 18 people have been hospitalized (about 6% of all diagnosed individuals). This was the largest outbreak of Cyclospora to date in the U.S.
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