MILLEDGEVILLE — More than 250 people in at least six states have come down with a stomach bug that could be linked to a food borne illness, according to an Associated Press release. Ten out of the 250 have been hospitalized. The six states with reported stomach bug cases are Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia and Connecticut.
Cases of the unidentified stomach bug first began in mid-June. At the beginning of summer, scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were notified of two people from Iowa who had developed unusual cases of the cyclospora infection. The cases were reported to the CDC by state health departments and physicians as cyclospora infection, but the agency generally conducts additional testing to confirm the diagnosis. The symptoms of the stomach bug are diarrhea, nausea, cramping and other flu-like conditions. According to the CDC, many cases of the infection resolve on their own, but antibiotics can speed recovery and reduce symptoms.
The release states that the CDC added Georgia and Connecticut to the list of affected states as of Tuesday. So far, at least five cases have been reported in Georgia. The illness is usually spread when people ingest foods or water contaminated with feces. Information obtained from local medical officials suggests that avoiding food or water that may have been contaminated with feces is the best way to prevent the bug. Treatment with chlorine or iodine is unlikely to kill the virus. To further prevent contamination, medical officials also suggest washing your hands, surfaces and utensils, as well as fruits and vegetables. Even if you plan to peel fruits and veggies, it's important to wash them first. Bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them during preparation.
According to the release, the agency said it is investigating additional illnesses and the number of those sickened could grow.
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