Parasite blamed for stomach bug confirmed in Jackson County

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. —  The Mo. Department of Health confirmed two cases of cyclospora, the parasite that has sickened at least 300 people across 12 states.

Cyclospora can cause people to be overcome with stomach-flu symptoms.

One of the cases was in Jackson County, the other in Taney County, in southern Missouri.

Kansas is also included in the list of states with confirmed cases of the Cyclospora parasite.

The intestinal illness can cause weeks or even months of pain and discomfort. Symptoms include fatigue and weight loss as well as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and….

“…. often explosive diarrhea,” said Dr. John Ouderkirk from Atlanta Medical Center.

Cyclosporiasis is commonly linked to imported fresh produce, but health officials aren’t certain whether a domestic or foreign product caused the outbreak.

“Most of the outbreaks we’ve seen in the past have been associated with fresh produce that have been imported from other countries,” said Jessica Rigler with the Arizona Dept. of Health Services.

The Center for Disease Control is monitoring the situation as experts try to track the source of the outbreak to determine the origin of the produce and if unsanitary irrigation methods are to blame.

Other states that have seen the bug are: Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ohio.

At least ten people have been hospitalized. Researchers fear the outbreak will get worse.

“I’m encouraging anyone who’s bought fruits and vegetables to thoroughly wash, or the other option is to cook the food, or just to avoid it all if possible,” said Dr. Christopher Perkins, Dallas Co. Health Authority.

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