Stomach Bug Mystifies CDC, Sickens Over 275 People in 9 States

Published:8:14 am EDT, July 25, 2013| Updated:4:55 pm EDT, February 21, 2014|
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CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cyclospora

Cyclosporiasis cases notified to CDC as of July 23, 2013. (CDC)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 275 people in nine states have been sickened with a stomach bug and health officials have no idea where it originated from.

Cyclospora, a parasite that causes diarrhea, stomach cramps and other symptoms normally associated with a viral stomach bug, is typically found tropical regions, and yet nine states have reported the bug. Most cases were in Iowa, Nebraska and Texas, but Wisconsin, Georgia, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois and Kansas have also had a few cases. In three of those states, at least 10 people have been hospitalized.

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Dr. Nicole Bouvier, an infectious diseases professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said the bug isn't capable of spreading from person to person, so it is likely that it came from contaminated food or water. No food items, however, have yet to be determined as the cause, but public health authorities are pursuing all leads.

“The CDC has to find a connection between these people and, so far, they haven’t figure out what links all these people together,” said Dr. Richard Besser, chief health medical correspondent for ABC News.

The good news is that the bug is curable, though experts recommend still washing your hands as well as any produce before eating.

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