People Getting Sick from Fecal Matter in Produce


A rare yet serious outbreak has made more than 350 people sick in 15 states. There have been four cases of Cyclospora found in Illinois. Health leaders said, they were found in Lake, Jo Daviess, Sangamon and Montgomery counties.

Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck, the Director of Illinois Department of Public Health said, it causes "cramps, watery diarrhea, it can be explosive, flu-like symptoms. It can cause fatigue over some time."

It can last for days. Heather Meador, an Iowa public health nurse said,  "57 days of diarrhea. That's a long time to be sick."

Health leaders said, it's a food-borne illness.

Dr. Hasbrouck added, "we don't know if they're all linked yet. We don't know the source is yet."

What they do know is that fecal matter is what's causing people to get sick.

Dr. Rodrigo Hasbun from a Utah health medical school said, "stool gets into the vegetables and then you don't wash the vegetables very well and then you eat the vegetable that are contaminated with stool." "raspberries have been implicated because they're very difficult to wash, lettuce and basil. I don't know what the source of this outbreak is, but CDC is looking into it."

Once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures out the outbreak.

"When we can link it to a specific produce then there will be a recall and they will remove that from the shelves," Dr. Hasbrouck said.

Until they pinpoint the cause, there's no need to avoid produce, just wash it thoroughly.

The CDC reports, eight people have been hospitalized.

The individual who had the illness in Sangamon County believes it was contracted out of state.

Dr. Hasbroucks said, people should be concerned. However it's not an emergency. It's not a life threatening illness if you should get it, but go see your health care provider if you think you have Cyclospora.

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