The agency reports 206 cases of cyclospora infections From May 1 to August 2 this year. Over the same time period last year, there were only 88 reported cases.
Officials say that they are still trying to identify what's causing the rise in infections -- reported in 27 states -- and that it's too early to tell if the cases are related. A common way people get infected is by eating imported fresh produce contaminated with feces that contain the parasite. They can also get it by drinking contaminated water.
Public health officials say 18 people have been hospitalized from the infections, but no deaths are linked to them. Besides watery diarrhea, symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, bloating, more gas, and cramping. Other symptoms that aren’t as common are vomiting and low-grade fever.
Doctors usually treat the infection with antibiotics.
The diarrheal illness can last for a few days to a few months, and the illness appears to go away and return. Typically, people with healthy immune symptoms usually recover without treatment. Severe or prolonged illness is more likely in people who have a weakened immune system or who are in poor health.