Human feces and toilet paper found in cilantro growing fields in Puebla, Mexico are likely to blame for hundreds of cases of cyclosporiasis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says Monday, leading the government to detain Mexican cilantro at the border from April to August and forbid products from Puebla from entering the U.S. without inspections and certification.
Cilantro from Mexico was identified as the cause of an outbreak of cyclosporiasis in Texas in both 2014 and 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA.
On Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services said there were 205 cases reported statewide, including 17 in Dallas County, eight in Denton County, nine in Collin County and nine in Tarrant County. Single cases have been reported in Johnson, Kaufman, Parker and Rockwall counties. Travis County reported the most -- 77 cases so far.
This most recent outbreak, the CDC said, is also likely tied to cilantro from Puebla.
In an FDA statement the CDC is quoted, "there is currently (in July 2015) another ongoing outbreak of cyclosporiasis in the United States in which both the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have identified cilantro from the Mexican state of Puebla as a suspect vehicle with respect to separate illness clusters."
Last year, Texas had 200 cases, some of which were associated with cilantro from the Puebla region.
At this time a recall has not been issued. Concerned shoppers are cautioned to ask their grocer about the origin of the cilantro sold in stores and to thoroughly wash all fresh produce.
H-E-B stores said they source products from all over and take great care in vetting supplies while conducting their own testing to ensure quality. At this time, they said they have not been impacted by the most recent findings.
DSHS warns washing produce may not entirely eliminate the risk because cyclospora can be difficult to wash off. Cooking will kill the parasite.
Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by consuming food or water contaminated with the cyclospora parasite. The major symptom is watery diarrhea lasting a few days to a few months. Additional symptoms may include loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and a low fever. People who think they may have a cyclospora infection should contact their health care provider.