Cyclospora in the Water

Recently Cyclospora has made the local news.  The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department is investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora, an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite. As of today, the department has 15 confirmed and 11 more cases under investigation. Within the past week, 42 cases of Cyclospora infection have been reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Cyclospora is a parasite which can cause intestinal infection and is spread through contaminated water. Yuck.  First, this is yet another reason to use an Aquasana water filter. We developed our  Sterilight UV filter just to remove bacteria and parasites from water. This is an easily installed add-on to any whole house water filter. Now that you know a solution is relatively easy, let’s take a look at what this parasite is and how it is spread:

What is Cyclospora?

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a small parasite (composed of one cell). It is too small to be seen without a microscope, yet big enough to cause an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis.

How is Cyclospora spread?

Cyclospora is spread by people ingesting food or water contaminated with feces. Just the thought alone makes you want to buy a Sterilight UV filter, doesn’t it? In the United States, foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce.

What are the symptoms of an Cyclospora infection?

The time between becoming infected and showing symptoms is about a week. The symptoms are diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms are also possible. If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer.

How is Cyclospora infection diagnosed?

According to the CDC, your health care provider will ask you to submit stool specimens to see if you are infected. You might be asked to submit more than one specimen from different days. Identification of this parasite in stool requires special laboratory tests that are not routinely done. Cyclospora is typically treated with antibiotics.

How is Cyclospora infection prevented?

Really the only way to prevent Cyclospora is to avoid food or water that might have been contaminated with stool. Because you can’t possibly know where all of your food has been, protect yourself with a Sterilight UV filter. You can take control of the water you use to cook with, wash your food with, and drink every day. This one investment can give you tremendous defense against bacteria, virus and parasites.

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