State health department investigates uptick in intestinal parasite

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Maryland Health Department reports 42 lab-confirmed cases of Cyclosporiasis

MARYLAND (WDVM) — The Maryland Department of Health is warning of an uptick in cases of an intestinal parasite.

The department reports 42 lab-confirmed cases of Cyclosporiasis since the beginning of the year. 37 of those cases were confirmed in the last two weeks. Officials say the recent rise is among similar trends in other parts of the nation.

The intestinal illness is caused by a parasite and people can get infected by eating food or water contaminated with feces.

 There is no specific source for these cases, but in the past, the illness has been linked to fresh produce like raspberries, basil, snow peas, mesclun lettuce and cilantro.

According to the state department of health, consumers and retailers should always follow safe fruit and vegetable handling recommendations:

• Wash: Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after handling or preparing fruits and vegetables. 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

• Prepare: Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. 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

• Store: Refrigerate cut, peeled or cooked fruits and vegetables as soon as possible, or within two hours. Store fruits and vegetables away from raw meat, poultry and seafood

Symptoms include diarrhea, cramping and more.

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