State hopes to trace source of intestinal parasite

Cyclospora_AF_Henry1

AUSTIN (AP) — State health officials are trying to trace the origin of an intestinal parasite that has infected 77 Texans so far this year.

In a statement Wednesday, the Texas Department of State Health Services says 77 cases of cyclosporiasis have been reported around Texas this year, including 69 in the last month alone.

The intestinal illness involves watery diarrhea and is caused by the parasite Cyclospora, which is spread through food and water.

Last year, Texas reported 351 cases, more than any other state in the country. In most previous years, the number of cases totaled only in the single or low double digits.

State health officials recommend thoroughly washing fresh produce, although Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off. Cooking will kill the bug, however.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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