Basil source of Cyclospora infection

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 27, 2005

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The Florida Health Dept. is investigating an increased number of cases of cyclosporiasis, caused by a single-celled parasite that infects the small intestine. Fresh basil is the suspected cause of the outbreak.

In early June, health officials notified physicians across Florida to consider cyclosporiasis in patients who have intermittent or persistent diarrhea. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, substantial weight loss, bloating, increased gas, nausea and vomiting.

During the past 15 years, about 5,000 cases of Cyclospora infection were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. None of the cases was known to be fatal.

Cyclospora is often linked to various types of fresh produce and officials recommend that people wash all fresh fruits and vegetables, even though washing alone may not prevent the disease. Cyclosporiasis is easily treated with antibiotics.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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