By: Irvin Jackson | Published: August 13th, 2013
A farm that may be linked to an outbreak of cyclosporiasis infections that have sickened hundreds of people in several states, has suspended production until further notice.
On August 12, the FDA announced that Taylor Farms de Mexico, which provided salads to Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska, stopped all production and indicates that it will wait until the facility is cleared by the FDA before it begins operating again.
While the outbreak has resulted in more than 500 people throughout the United States being diagnosed with cyclosporiasis, salad mixes from Taylor Farms have only been linked to illnesses in Iowa and Nebraska so far.
According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the cyclospora outbreak has sickened 535 people in 18 states, with at least 32 people have been hospitalized.
Neither the CDC, nor the FDA or state health agencies have successfully linked the outbreak to Taylor Farms in other states. This has left health officials uncertain as to whether they are dealing with one single cyclospora outbreak or a number of different, simultaneous outbreaks.
Taylor Farms already faces food poisoning lawsuits from residents of Iowa and Nebraska, and has also been sued by at least one plaintiff in Texas, who believes that the farm is responsible for illnesses there as well, since she became sick after eating at an Olive Gardens restaurant in Texas. However, the company has said that it did not supply salad to Texas restaurants.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite that can cause an intestinal illness known as Cyclosporiasis. The parasite is spread typically by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. The CDC reports that in most previous cases cyclospora outbreaks were linked to fresh produce.
Victims typically experience illness for about a week, with symptoms that include watery diarrhea, frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach pains, bloating, increased gas, nausea and fatigue. The CDC warns that infected persons also sometimes experience vomiting, body aches, headaches, fever and other symptoms that could be mistaken for the flu. However, some people infected with the parasite develop no symptoms.
The ailment is often treated with sulfa-based antibiotics, like Bactrim, Septra and Cotrim. The CDC warns that there are no alternative recommended treatments for patients who are allergic to sulfa drugs. The CDC also recommends victims get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.
Individuals who suspect they may have experienced illness associated with the Cyclospora outbreak should seek immediate medical treatment, and contact local infectious disease officials.=