However, new illnesses continue to be confirmed because of the long-lasting nature of the cyclospora infections. Symptoms can last for up to three months in healthy people and a year in the elderly or immune-compromised patients.
Patricia Quinlisk, Iowa’s head epidemiologist and medical director of the state’s health department, said in a CDC weekly report that the use of traditional media and electronic media helped during the early days of the investigation.
She said electronic alerts sent to hospitals and other health care providers on July 3, coupled with mainstream media coverage beginning July 4 in Iowa and a series of 14 Twitter messages helped raise awareness among the public and doctors.
Courtesy CDCThe one-celled cyclospora parasite is rarely found in the U.S., but is endemic in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.“For example, one patient with severe vomiting and diarrhea was discharged without a diagnosis after a five-day hospital stay and extensive laboratory testing, only to relapse days later,” according to Quinlisk’s report.
“After reading (an alert), the patient’s health-care provider ordered cyclospora testing on the patient, and the result was positive. The patient was treated with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and the symptoms resolved.”
The use of electronic messaging and media attention in the early stages of the investigation encouraged testing that might not otherwise have been considered by health-care providers or their patients, the CDC report stated.
The CDC most recently updated the case count on Aug. 5, reporting 466 cases of infection from the following 16 states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York (including New York City), Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.