Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis in the United States

Recently, there is an outbreak of Cyclosporiasis, possibly linked to the consumption of prepackaged salad, in the United States which affects approximately 400 people in several US states. For this particular incident, what is the advice of the Centre for Food Safety to Hong Kong population?

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite that is too small to be seen with the naked eye. Intestinal infection caused by consuming food or water contaminated with Cyclospora is called Cyclosporiasis. The time lag between infection and appearance of symptoms is approximately 1 week. Common symptoms include watery diarrhoea, stomach pain, bloating, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss and fatigue.

Although some healthy people infected with Cyclospora may have no symptoms, vulnerable groups (infants and young children, pregnant women, elderly and people with low immunity) should avoid high risk foods, including raw ready-to-eat food such as salad.

The CFS will remain vigilant to the development of the incident, particularly on whether the suspected food items are available in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, travellers to the US should exercise special caution especially when consuming salad. They are advised to buy food from hygienic and reliable premises and take precautionary measures to prevent food-borne or water-borne illness, such as ensuring fresh produce are thoroughly washed before consumption.