This past August, Atlanta Magazine reported that the national cyclospora outbreak infected 353 people throughout 15 states, including Georgia. Cyclospora is a one-celled parasite that causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis or cyclospora infection.
How people are exposed
Cyclospora illness was rare before 1996, typically showing up only among travelers to developing countries or in those with a compromised immune system due to HIV or another autoimmune disease. Since that time, however, there have been a number of cyclospora outbreaks in the United States, often involving fresh produce such as basil, lettuce or raspberries.
In most cases, cyclospora infection comes from ingesting food or water that is contaminated with feces — such as when someone preparing or handling food does not wash their hands.
When should you seek medical attention?
Common symptoms of cyclospora include appetite and weight loss, diarrhea, gas, bloating and exhaustion. Additional symptoms include flu-like conditions, headaches and fever. Cyclospora illness typically lasts from between a few days to a month or longer — and symptoms can return or relapse.
You should call a doctor if you develop persistent or recurring diarrhea, become dehydrated or believe that you may have eaten food that was recalled. When seeking medical attention, it is important to have your stool tested for cyclospora as soon as possible — both to assist in diagnosis and to provide evidence for your lawsuit.
Collecting cyclospora evidence
To claim damages for a cyclospora injury, you need to show that a third party provided tainted food and that you were injured as a result. Evidence can include scientific testimony, lab tests of allegedly infected food and empirical evidence showing that other people who ate the same food came down with cyclosporiasis. You may be able to sue a number of parties including food producers such as lettuce growers, supermarkets and restaurants.