Prepackaged salad potential cause of parasite outbreak - Dallas News |

Prepackaged salad potential cause of parasite outbreak

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Health officials in Nebraska believe a prepackaged salad mix is the source of a cyclospora outbreak that's sickened 78 people in the state since mid-June.

Officials with the Tarrant County Health Department said Tuesday it's possible that same source is responsible for the gastrointestinal illness in North Texas.

Health officials told the Tarrant County Commissioners Court on Tuesday there are 28 confirmed cyclo cases in the county this year.

The chief epidemiologist said most of the patients in Tarrant County got sick in late June. 60 percent of the patients are women and the average age is 50.

Before this year, Dallas County had only seen 12 cases in about 12 years, but there are currently 20 cases in the county.

Cyclospora is sometimes found in contaminated produce. It causes intestinal problems including severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and fatigue and can last as long as six weeks if untreated.

Across the country there have been 353 cases reported, including more than 100 in Texas.

To avoid contamination, the U.S. food and Drug Administration urges people to wash produce before its eaten and always wash hands, utensils and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.

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