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Citizens urged to wash vegetables, avoid dangerous parasite

PALESTINE, July 26, 2013--A nasty parasite is affecting people nationwide, but according to Net Health Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness Russel Hopkins, the illness is more easily avoided than people may think.

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a one-celled organism parasite which causes intense gastrointestinal disturbances, including vomiting and diarrhea. According to Hopkins the condition, if left untreated, will not resolve itself and the parasite will continue to multiply, causing the symptoms to return again and again.

Cyclospora comes from fecal matter which can be present on raw fruits and vegetables. Hopkins says the easiest way to avoid the condition is to vigorously wash fruits and vegetables before consuming.

Several hundred cases in eleven states have been confirmed, with two recent cases having been confirmed in Smith County. Texas currently has the third highest number of cases in the nation.

Hopkins urges anyone who thinks they may have the parasite to see a healthcare professional immediately.

“We hope that people take to heart the best way to not be suffering,” said Hopkins. “Educate yourself on how to avoid it, and vigorously washing those vegetables is the best way to do that.”

KYYK’s Gary Richards spoke with Hopkins about the issue. Click below for more.


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