Joint Statement from New York State Department of Health, Albany County Department of Health, Montgomery County Public Health, Saratoga County Public Health and Schenectady County Public Health Services Regarding Investigation of Cyclosporiasis Cases in the Capital Region

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 11, 2019) - The New York State Department of Health, working collaboratively with the Albany County Department of Health, Montgomery County Public Health, Saratoga County Public Health and Schenectady County Public Health Services, is investigating reports of multiple cases of Cyclosporiasis.

Cyclosporiasis is a gastrointestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite. Outbreaks of Cyclosporiasis have often been associated with imported fresh produce. Illness typically results in watery diarrhea, and can include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea and fatigue. These symptoms can appear approximately 1-2 weeks after ingestion of the contaminated source.If untreated, symptoms can last as long as a month or longer and can return one or more times. Infection is generally not transmitted directly from person-to-person.

To date, there are 11 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclosporiasis associated with this current investigation with illnesses starting in mid-June. Interviews with all the cases are ongoing to determine if there are commonalities in where they dined and what food they may have consumed. Several of the cases interviewed report they dined at the following establishments:

  • The Italian American Community Center in Albany
  • A buffet during a private graduation event at Union College in Schenectady
  • Prime Life Restaurant at Beltrone Senior Living Community Center in Colonie

There is no indication that the illnesses are related to poor food handling or preparation at these establishments, and each of the establishments is fully cooperating with the investigation.Additional establishments may be identified as this investigation continues. Contamination of produce with Cyclospora often occurs prior to arrival at food distribution centers and restaurants. This type of contamination is not easily removed by standard produce rinsing. The Department is closely monitoring an increase in cases of Cyclosporiasis statewide and nationally, unrelated to the investigation in the Capital Region.

DOH recommends that individuals with diarrhea for three or more days and any of the above symptoms contact their healthcare provider. In addition to providing care for their symptoms, their provider may choose to order tests that can aid in the diagnosis of the cause of their illness. Also, antibiotics may need to be prescribed as a treatment for infected individuals.The Department of Health and our partners in the local health departments have issued a Healthcare Provider Alert to local healthcare providers to notify them of an increase in reports of laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclosporiasis and to advise of appropriate methods of testing and treatment for people who may present with diarrheal illness consistent with this infection.

For more information on Cyclosporiasis click here.