Outbreak of cyclosporiasis among conference participants
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Outbreak of cyclosporiasis among conference participants

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      Monday, March 08, 2004, 21:30 EST (09:30 PM EST) CDCHAN-00188-2004-03-08-ADV-N

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been notified of an outbreak of gastroenteritis caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis.

      The outbreak is associated with a conference held February 6-8 at a hotel in Irving (near Dallas), Texas. The conference was attended by ~40 persons from ~16 states. The meals eaten by the group were catered by the hotel, with the exception of one meal eaten at a local restaurant.

      On February 27th, a State health department reported a laboratory-confirmed case of Cyclospora cayetanensis infection in a conference attendee to staff of the Division of Parasitic Diseases (DPD), NCID, CDC. On March 4, DPD laboratory staff confirmed the case, by examining the patient's stool specimen. This patient developed gastroenteritis approximately 1 week after the conference. Initial investigations suggest that at least 16-19 persons became ill; one person is known to have been hospitalized. Active case-finding is ongoing.

      The outbreak may not be limited to persons who attended this conference. Although no food item has been implicated to date, a contaminated "vehicle" might have was distributed to other states/localities. Previous foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of fresh produce (e.g., basil, mesclun lettuce, raspberries). Clinicians evaluating persons with symptoms consistent with cyclosporiasis (see below) should specifically request stool testing for Cyclospora (most laboratories do not do such testing unless it is requested).

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