Ten Piatt County residents part of food borne outbreak

Fourteen people in Piatt and DeWitt counties have been diagnosed with the food borne illness cyclosporiasis since May, with health officials tying all but two of those cases to the eating of salads at McDonalds. Nationwide there have been more than 500 cases, including about 80 in central Illinois.

DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director David Remmert said 10 of the local cases have come from Piatt County, with another four from neighboring DeWitt.

He said the main symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea.

“It definitely does run its course, but those with symptoms should go see their doctor. It tends to help because they can deal with the symptoms,” said Remmert.

“And the doctors will inform us of cases that exist,” he added.

Remmert also encouraged those who think they have food poisoning to call the health department at 217-762-7911 or 217-935-3427.

The national chain removed existing lettuce blends from a majority of its Midwest stores in early July, replacing them with lettuce from a different supplier.

Health officials say the incubation period is longer for cyclosporiasis than with other food borne illness, sometimes taking up to two weeks to show symptoms.

Many recover quickly, but for others it can take several weeks. One Piatt County resident who said she was diagnosed with the ailment said she lost 13 pounds of weight in a single month.

Cyclosporiasis is caused by the microscopic Cyclospora parasite, and can also cause a loss of appetite, cramping, bloating and gas, nausea and small fever.

Remmert, who has worked in public health for 27 years, the past 13 in DeWitt and Piatt counties, did not consider it a major outbreak, saying “from time to time we have these sorts of things. Over the last few years there have been a few vegetable related outbreaks.”

He added that, at times, food borne illness outbreaks go unnoticed if the symptoms are minor because they are not reported.

One of the largest outbreaks locally in recent years was in 2014 when about 40 people became ill with a norovirus at a summer camp at the 4-H Memorial Camp near Monticello. Health officials felt someone came to the camp with the virus and that it spread to about 10 staff members and 30 campers.


 


 

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