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U.S. FDA probes multi-state outbreak of intestinal bug

WASHINGTON | Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:35pm EDT

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Monday it is investigating a multi-state outbreak of an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis, whose cause has not yet been determined.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local officials, are also scrutinizing the outbreak.

“As of July 18, 2013, CDC has been notified of more than 200 cases of cyclospora infection in residents of multiple states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, and Wisconsin,” the FDA said in a statement.

The agency said it is unclear whether all the cases are part of the same outbreak.

Cyclosporiasis is caused by ingesting food or water containing a one-celled parasite that is too small to be detected without a microscope. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, vomiting and body ache.

Untreated, the illness can last from a few days to a month or more. Other symptoms may include headache, fever, weight loss and fatigue.

Most people with healthy immune systems recover from the infection without treatment. Older people and those with weakened immune systems might be at higher risk for prolonged illness. The condition is typically treated with the antibiotics Bactrim, Septra and Cotrim, according to the CDC.

Cyclosporiasis is most common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Outbreaks in the United States and Canada have been linked to imported fresh produce.

(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington and Pallavi Ail in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian and Andre Grenon)