Officials looking for root cause of Cyclospora outbreak - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Officials looking for root cause of Cyclospora outbreak

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LINN COUNTY (KWWL) -

It's an illness you don't want to get.

"These people are sick," said Heather Meador, Linn County Public Health Nurse. "The average length of time someone's going to be sick with Cyclospora is going to be 57 days of diarrhea. That's a long time to be sick."

It's caused by eating or drinking something contaminated with the Cyclospora parasite.

Right now there are 10 cases in Linn County alone and another 12 statewide. From 1996 through 2012 Iowa saw ten cases.

"We've had cases that have been involved with lettuce, with berries, so we are looking at those fresh produce options that our patients have eaten," said Meador.

Public Health Officials aren't sure what's causing this year's outbreak but they still say the best thing you can do is wash your fruits and veggies.

Officials at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach say they don't think the sudden spike has to do with the number of farmers in Iowa.

"At this time it's not believed that that's the case," said Rachel Wall, ISU Extension and Outreach.

They echo the importance of washing produce thoroughly.

"If you have leafy vegetables that you pull those apart and get all of the contamination and the dirt," said Wall.

Despite the sudden rise of Cyclospora, you shouldn't stop eating produce.

"All of us could use more fruits and vegetables in our diet," said Wall.

Right now, officials at the Iowa Department of Public Health are working with county health departments to determine the cause of the outbreak. They're doing lengthy interviews with people infected to find any similarities.

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