MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating several cases of a parasitic gastrointestinal infection popping up in 2023 across the state, resulting in twice as many cases as reported in 2022. 

Since April, the ADPH has received multiple reports of Cyclospora infection. Cyclosporiasis is a gastrointestinal illness caused by microscopic parasites. In the U.S., this infection usually comes from eating produce that was grown outside of the states and contaminated with Cyclospora, according to the ADPH.

According to the CDC, symptoms of cyclosporiasis may include the following:

  • Watery diarrhea (most common)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Increased gas
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Other symptoms that may occur but are less common include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Low-grade fever

Cyclosporiasis can be mild or serious. Occasionally, it will result in prolonged gastrointestinal distress, and in severe cases, hospitalization. Most people, however, with healthy immune systems will recover without treatment. 

Cyclosporiasis is not contagious. There is no evidence it spreads from person to person. 

To help prevent Cyclospora infection, the ADPH suggests:

  • Avoiding food or water that might have been contaminated with stool.  
  • Washing hands with soap and warm water before and after handling or preparing fruits and vegetables.  
  • Washing all fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking.

For more information, visit the CDC’s website on the infection.