A parasite that comes from fecal matter has been spotted in Iowa, Nebraska and Texas since the beginning of July, authorities warned this week.

The cyclospora parasite comes from fecal matter and is typically contracted by humans who eat produce tainted by said fecal matter. Over 100 people came down with cyclosporiasis in Iowa and Nebraska since the beginning of July, and over two-dozen more were reported in Texas by Tuesday. About half of the Texas infections are in Dallas County alone, according to CBS Dallas, where only 12 such cases have been seen in the last 12 years.

Health officials are not sure what's sickening people, so they are urging everyone to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables, and cook them if appropriate. The bug can take up to a week after being eaten before an infection takes hold, making it that much more difficult for health officials to track down the source of contamination.

The Centers for Disease Control says cyclosporiasis is a terribly painful condition that causes "watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements." Other symptoms include "loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue," along with "[v]omiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms."

The CDC adds that symptoms of cyclosporiasis can last up to two months in some people, and may reemerge after symptoms appear to have abated.

This video is from CBS Dallas, aired Wednesday, July 17, 2013.


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