Cyclospora case reported in Marshall County

When it comes to nasty illnesses, they don’t get much worse than Cyclospora.

The intestinal illness can cause nearly two months of diarrhea if untreated and has been popping up across the state with 134 reported cases across dozens of counties.

Pat Thompson, Marshall County public health nurse, said there has been one case of the illness in Marshall County this month. She did not want to describe the details of the person with the illness.

There is no reason to panic that the illness is here as it does not spread from person to person, she said.

“It’s on a fruit or a vegetable usually,” Thompson said.

To prevent the illness, it’s advised to wash hands thoroughly and often and wash all fruits and vegetables before eating. Several weeks ago, state health officials announced they didn’t expect more cases in the state, but the numbers have doubled in the past two weeks.

“I think they are testing more,” Thompson said.

Information from the Iowa Department of Pubic Health indicates the source of the parasite that caused the outbreak has most likely been consumed or discarded already. That means a wave of new cases is not expected moving forward.

The highest concentration of cases in the state is in Linn County, where more than 30 cases of Cyclospora have been reported.

Other cases of Cyclospora have been found in Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, Connecticut and New Jersey.

The source of the outbreak is unknown as health officials try to connect the dots.

“It takes awhile for all the information to come in,” Thompson said.