Cyclospora is endemic in certain regions, meaning that imports from certain countries are at high risk of causing infections than countries that do not show infections of soil and crop.
If you live or are travelling to developing areas in the tropics and subtropics, you may be at an increased risk of getting Cyclosporiasis infections.
In some regions, infections can be more prevalent in late spring and summer. Which are the months where increased import of fruits and vegetables into the US from the more southern neighbours occur.
“The Midwest is hit with Cyclospora outbreaks every summer, which seems to be connected with produce distribution channels,” says Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director of communicable diseases at the Oregon Health Authority.
This means following the basic food safety pillars principles when it comes to handling raw fruits and vegetables. Especially those foods that do not require any cooking.
- Cleaning: Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with soap and hot water between the preparation of raw meat, poultry, and seafood products and the preparation of fruits and vegetables that will not be cooked.
- Personal Hygiene: Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after handling or preparing fruits and vegetables.
- Food Handling: Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Fruits and vegetables that are labelled “prewashed” do not need to be washed again at home. Scrub firm fruits and vegetables, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating.
- Food Storage: Refrigerate cut, peeled, or cooked fruits and vegetables as soon as possible. Within 2 hours of preparation. Store fruits and vegetables away from raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Temperature Control: Cook foods thoroughly, and never leave foods out for no reason.
If you’re travelling to tropical countries, avoid raw produce and don’t drink unfiltered water, the CDC says.