Health department investigating spread of foodborne illnesses in DMV

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Cyclosporiasis causes diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight-loss.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Local health districts are notifying the public about a foodborne illness that is known to cause diarrhea and weight loss.

Health districts in Virginia and Maryland and Washington D.C. have seen a significant increase in the number of reported cyclosporiasis cases since mid-June. The intestinal illness is caused by a microscopic parasite. Last week, 37 new cases were reported in Maryland. Officials said 34 cases have occurred in Northern Virginia.

“There was an FDA alert about basil that came from one distributor in Mexico and they’re still trying to look at that situation. We don’t know at this time whether that product is associated with the current cases in Virginia,” said Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, Director of Epidemiology and Population Health for Fairfax County’s health department.

Officials say more than 40 people from two large businesses in the area have reported gastrointestinal illness which may be cyclosporiasia. We learned that those businesses include Capitol One in Tysons Corner.

The Virginia Department of Health is working with local, state and federal health officials to determine the reason behind the increase of the illnesses.

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