Health

Cyclospora outbreak possibly linked to fresh produce, warn Canadian health officials

​Public health officials are warning about an outbreak of the intestinal illness Cyclospora, with 83 cases being investigated across Canada.

83 cases of the intestinal illness being investigated in Ontario, B.C., Alberta and Quebec

Cyclospora is a microscopic single-celled parasite that is passed in people's feces. If it comes in contact with food or water, it can infect the people who consume it causing an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention/Associated Press)

​Public health officials are warning about an outbreak of the intestinal illness Cyclospora, with 83 cases being investigated across Canada.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a statement that says two people have been hospitalized from the parasite but no deaths have been reported.

The cases became known between May 9 and July 18 and are mainly in Ontario, but there are also some infections in B.C., Alberta and Quebec.

Fresh produce link

The agency says the source is unknown but past outbreaks of Cyclospora have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, such as pre-packaged salad mix, basil, cilantro, berries, mesclun lettuce and snow peas.

Federal agencies in the U.S. announced recently that more than 380 people in 26 U.S. states have been diagnosed with a stomach illness tied to Mexican cilantro contaminated by human waste.

More than 380 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a stomach illness tied to Mexican cilantro contaminated by human waste. (Apichart Weerawong/Associated Press)

Cyclospora is generally low-risk and can be cured with antibiotics, but people with weakened immune systems, children and the elderly are at increased risk of developing complications.

Symptoms can include stomach cramps, diarrhea and loss of appetite.

People are being asked to take extra care to clean and properly store fruits and vegetables.

With files from CBC News

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