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DALLAS-- Health officials in North Texas are trying to figure out what's causing reports of the uncomfortable intestinal illness, cyclospora.

The nasty bug is caused by microscopic parasites which live on fresh fruits and vegetables. The health department is racing to try and find the source of this latest outbreak and why cases have spiked this month.

Before July, there were eight cases reported statewide. Now there's a total of 69. Tarrant County has reported 11. Ten were reported in Dallas County, four in Collin County and two inDenton County.

Cyclospora is typically spread by eating unwashed vegetables. Last year more than 100 people got sick in Texas, mostly in Tarrant,Denton andDallas Counties. That outbreak was linked to fresh cilantro grown in Mexico.

In two other states -- Nebraska and Iowa -- health officials eventually narrowed down the source to bagged salads originally produced in Mexico and served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants.

Cyclospora can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea that can last weeks -- even months.

To determine the cause of this latest outbreak, health department officials are asking doctors to test any patient who has had intestinal issues lasting more than a few days.

E-mail: cwade@wfaa.com

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