An email from one of our triage nurses arrived this evening:
We have received many calls about diarrhea. All the cases seem to have no symptoms except diarrhea. The patients are appearing and acting normal, just lots of loose stools/diaper rash. A mom called today and mentioned the spread of cyclospora, up to 250 cases reported across the country.
Cyclospora is a single-cell parasite that, after ingestion via contaminated water or food, causes severe diarrhea. More from the CDC website:
The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about 1 week. Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted. Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms.
The parasite is endemic to tropical and subtropical regions and not typically the midwestern U.S. Like most gastrointestinal pathogens in children, the illness is self-limited and no treatment is required. However, in children and adults with compromised immune systems or especially severe symptoms, treatment with an antibiotic (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) is curative.
True for any intestinal illness: if your child develops severe diarrhea that concerns you, please call our offices.
More on this cyclospora outbreak here.
Many thanks to the mom who brought this to our attention!