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Stomach bug making its rounds in Harris, Fort Bend counties

Texas health officials have reported an increased number of cases of Cyclospora this summer.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Health officials are warning residents in the Greater Houston area about a stomach bug that's been making its rounds in Harris and Fort Bend counties. 

It's an illness called Cyclospora, which is caused by an intestinal parasite.

Cases have been linked to people who consume fresh produce and pre-packaged salad mixes.

Harris County Public Health, the Houston Health Department, and Fort Bend County Health & Human Services have all reported an increased number of cases of Cyclospora this summer.

There have been 25 reported cases in Harris County as of June 5, and although that doesn't sound like a lot, you have to consider that many cases go unreported because this parasite typically passes through people within a day or two. 

Still, it can be dangerous for people who are immuno-compromised, infants and the elderly.

According to the CDC, cyclosporiasis symptoms begin about a week after exposure and include:

  • Frequent bouts of watery diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Cramping, bloating, increased gas
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever

Dr. Ericka Brown, with Harris County Public Health, said Cyclospora is common between April and August as it's associated with the consumption of fresh produce. 

"It's not necessarily food poisoning," she said. "In general terms, it's what we would call a bug, literally. We ate something and we got a little bug and our stomach gets upset. And typically, most people experience mild symptoms. They may have some stomach upset, some cramping, some diarrhea."

Dr. Brown said the illness can last anywhere from a day or so. In some cases, it can go away and can come back. If this happens, you should seek medical attention.

To prevent getting it, wash your fruits and vegetables for at least 20 seconds. even give a ba of lettuce an extra rinse and wash your hands well before you start cooking. 

Visit the CDC's website for more information.

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