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July 17, 1996

Outbreaks of Cyclospora cayetanensis Infection—United States, 1996

JAMA. 1996;276(3):183. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540030017008

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CYCLOSPORA CAYETANENSIS (previously termed cyanobacterium-like body) is a recently characterized coccidian parasite1; the first known cases of infection in humans were diagnosed in 1977.2 Before 1996, only three outbreaks of Cyclospora infection had been reported in the United States.3-5 This report describes the preliminary findings of an ongoing outbreak investigation by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and summarizes the findings from investigations in other states.

South Carolina  On June 14, the SCDHEC was notified of diarrheal illness among persons who attended a luncheon near Charleston on May 23. A case of Cyclospora infection was defined as diarrhea (three or more loose stools per day or two or more stools per day if using antimotility drugs) after attending the luncheon. All 64 attendees were interviewed. Of the 64 persons, 37 (58%) had Cyclospora infection, including seven with laboratory-confirmed infection.