This past Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States announced that a mystery stomach bug was spreading across the country.
The CDC explained that little over 270 people had thus far been taken sick, and that more cases would probably be reported in the days to come.
By the looks of it, the stomach bug has spread to at least seven states. More precisely, cases of infection have been documented in Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Connecticut and New Jersey.
People who have contracted this stomach bug display symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, bloating, fatigue and weight loss, Medical Daily reports.
The same source informs us that, if left untreated, these symptoms can persist for about a month.
Therefore, those who suspect that they have the condition and display said symptoms for at least a week should seek help form a doctor.
Following this outbreak, the CDC asked for help form the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The two organizations are now working together to sort out the issue and argue that, as far as they can tell, the mystery stomach bug is a one-celled parasite named cyclospora cayetanensis.
This parasite is foodborne, meaning that people become exposed to it by eating contaminated food.
Because cyclospora cayetanensis infections are typically reported in tropical and subtropical regions, the CDC and the FDA suspect that imported produce should be blamed for the outbreak now affecting people in the US.
“Usually people get it from traveling to other countries. It's on food, it's in water. You cannot get it by touching someone who has it. So that's really good news,” argued Dr. Marc Siegel of the NYU Langone Medical Center, as cited by The Examiner.
Dr. Marc Siegel also wished to reassure people that those who thoroughly washed their hands before handling food had little chances of contracting the stomach bug.
Even if they do, the illness can be treated with an antibiotic named Bactrim.