Category Archives: Parasite

Information – Annual snapshot of foodborne illnesses shows Cyclospora spike

CIDRAP Cyclospora_LifeCycle201

In its annual report summing up the latest trends with pathogens that are common sources of foodborne illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that the incidence of most illnesses increased in 2018, especially Cyclospora infections.

A team from the CDC and partners in 10 states that are part of the FoodNet surveillance network looked at levels for 2018 and compared them with levels for 2015 through 2017. The pathogens they tracked included CampylobacterCryptosporidiumCyclosporaListeriaSalmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), ShigellaVibrio, and Yersinia. They published their findings today in the latest edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In preliminary findings for 2018, the FoodNet system flagged 25,606 infections, 5,893 hospitalizations, and 120 deaths. They note that the incidence for most infections is rising, including Campylobacter and Salmonella. However, they added an important caveat that some of the increase might be partly due to the increased use of culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs), which can identify pathogens not regularly found by other testing methods — complicating data interpretation.

Research – Molecular detection and genotype identification of Toxoplasma gondii in domestic and industrial eggs

Wiley Online 



Birds are important intermediated hosts of Toxoplasma gondii. Consumption of chicken meat and its infected products is one of the main sources of human infection with T. gondii. However, little information is available about T. gondii infection in egg. In this study, the contamination of industrial and local eggs with Toxoplasma was investigated by PCR method targeting the RE gene in two tropical cities of Iran. Genotypes of T. gondii were determined by PCR‐RFLP method targeting the SAG3 gene. T. gondii DNA was detected in 11% (22/200) of the eggs. Genotyping of 14 T. gondii isolates revealed that all of the isolates were belonged to genotype III of T. gondii. Sequencing of the isolates by the SAG3 gene showed 95%–100% similarity with the T. gondii isolates in GenBank.

Practical applications

The findings of this study suggested that consumption of raw or undercooked eggs might play a role in human infection with Toxoplasma. Hence, consumption of adequately cooked eggs should be considered for prevention of human toxoplasmosis.

RASFF Alerts – Salmonella – Enterobateriaceae – Chilled Lamb Products – Liquid Egg – White Seasame Seeds


RASFF-Salmonella (presence /25g) in chilled lamb products from Ireland in Ireland

RASFF-Salmonella (present /25g), high count of Enterobacteriaceae (9500 MPN/g) and high aerobic plate count (6700 CFU/g) in liquid egg white from France in the UK

RASFF-Salmonella (in 1 out of 5 samples /25g) in white sesame seeds from Nigeria in Poland

USA – FDA documents first Cyclospora contamination of U.S. fresh produce

Food Safety News 220px-Cyclospora_cayetanensis_stained

A special FDA testing program on fresh herbs has documented the first confirmed evidence of the Cyclospora parasite in U.S. produce.

The Food and Drug Administration found the microscopic parasite on fresh cilantro at a U.S. distribution facility in July. In a follow-up investigation, the FDA found Cyclospora on fresh cilantro at a farm. The federal agency worked with state and local officials to embargo the cilantro. Staff from FDA have been working with the farmer on “corrective actions geared toward common routes of contamination,” according to a constituent update from the agency. 

“Although this is the first confirmed evidence of the presence of Cyclospora in domestic produce, FDA is currently unaware of illnesses associated with the product, and traceforward efforts do not indicate there are any connections between this domestic finding of contaminated cilantro and multistate outbreaks of Cyclospora illnesses investigated this spring and summer,” the agency reported.

Those Cyclospora outbreaks were linked to Del Monte vegetable-dip trays and salads made with Fresh Express chopped lettuce and carrots that were served at McDonald’s restaurants.

USA – Update – FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Cyclospora Illnesses Linked to Fresh Express Salad Mix Served at McDonald’s

FDA 220px-Cyclospora_cayetanensis_stained

The FDA, CDC, along with state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of cyclosporiasis illnesses likely linked to salads from McDonald’s restaurants.

Update – August 23, 2018

As of August 23, 2018, a total of 507 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection were reported in people who consumed salads from McDonald’s restaurants; the cases were reported by 15 states and New York City. The investigation is ongoing and the FDA is currently reviewing distribution and supplier information for romaine and carrots.


Consumers who have symptoms of cyclosporiasis should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.

UK Scotland – Cyclospora in travellers returning from Mexico

HPS Cyclospora_LifeCycle201

Public Health England (PHE), Public Health Wales (PHW), Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and the Health Protection Service Northern Ireland (HPSNI) are investigating an increase in cases of Cyclospora cayetanensis infection in travellers who have recently returned from Mexico. This is the fourth successive year since 2015 that cases of the infection have been reported in travellers returning from Mexico.

As of 3 August 2018, 63 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora cayetanensis have been reported in England, Scotland and Wales. Where information is available, 55 (87%) report travel outside the UK, of which 49 (89%) report recent travel to Mexico. Where information is available, cases have stayed at several different hotels in the Cancun and Riviera Maya region suggesting the source is likely to be a foodstuff that has been distributed to hotels throughout the region.

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a protozoan parasite that infects humans and other primates. Infection can cause diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, nausea, flatulence, loss of appetite, fatigue, low-grade fever and weight loss. Infection without symptoms is also reported. Infections in HIV positive people and those with other immune deficiencies can be more severe.

Infection is commonly derived from food or water contaminated by human faeces. The foods commonly involved are soft fruits such as raspberries and salad products such as coriander, basil and lettuce. The risk of infection presented by imported foods is considered to be low.

Advice for travellers on the prevention of Cyclospora is available from Health Protection Scotland:

USA – Cyclospora Updates


The FDA confirms the presence of Cyclospora in Fresh Express salad mix through new laboratory method; Fresh Express recalls expired products containing romaine lettuce.

July 31, 2018 Update

The FDA has confirmed the presence of Cyclospora in an expired salad mix, containing romaine lettuce and carrots, that was produced by the processor Fresh Express in Streamwood, Illinois.

On July 26, 2018, the FDA completed final analysis of an unused package of Fresh Express salad mix containing romaine lettuce and carrots, which had been distributed to McDonald’s. The analysis confirmed the presence of Cyclospora in that sample, though the expiration date for that product, July 19, had already passed. On July 27, the FDA informed Fresh Express of the results, and instructed Fresh Express to determine whether potentially contaminated product may still be on the market.

Fresh Express reported to FDA that the romaine from the same lot as the positive sample was not packaged for direct retail sale by Fresh Express and had already expired. Fresh Express committed to using recall procedures to inform companies that received additional products of concern about the sample result. Fresh Express also reported that the carrots in the sampled salad mix only went to McDonald’s.

On July 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert on beef, pork and poultry salad and wrap products potentially contaminated with Cyclospora that was distributed by Caito Foods LLC, of Indianapolis, Ind. The products were produced between July 15 and 18, 2018, with either “Best By,” “Enjoy by,” “Best if Sold By” or “Sell By” dates ranging from July 18 through July 23, 2018. Caito Foods had received notification from Fresh Express that the chopped romaine in these products was being recalled.

McDonald’s reports that they stopped using the Fresh Express salad mix at impacted restaurants in IL, IA, IN, WI, MI, OH, MN, NE, SD, MT, ND, KY, WV, and MO on July 13, 2018. The company has since reported that it has replaced the supplier of salads in those states. More information can be found in McDonald’s Statement.

In 2015, FDA set up a multidisciplinary workgroup to prioritize the development, validation and implementation of a method for detecting Cyclospora in fresh produce. In 2018, FDA began using the newly validated Cyclospora method. The availability of this method is a significant advancement in FDA’s ability to investigate outbreaks of cyclosporiasis and identify the parasite in foods.

The investigation is ongoing and the FDA is currently reviewing distribution and supplier information for romaine and carrots.

Food Poisoning Bulletin

A cyclospora outbreak among people who attended an event on July 3, 2018 at the Evanston Golf Club at 4401 Dempster Street in Skokie, Illinois has sickened more than one hundred people, according to the Skokie Health Department. The facility is fully cooperating with the investigation.

About 900 people attended that event. Officials have sent all attendees a food survey to help discover which foods may be linked to the outbreak. The Skokie Health Department would like everyone who attended the event at the golf club to fill out the survey, even if they did not get sick.

This outbreak is not linked to the McDonald’s cyclospora outbreak that is linked to the fast food chain’s salads, according to officials. That outbreak has sickened at least 123 people in Illinois, according to the CDC.