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Texas cyclospora outbreak linked to fresh cilantro

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DALLAS, Texas (KXAS) – Health officials in Texas say they found a link between fresh cilantro from Mexico and a bacteria that is making dozens of people ill.

The Texas Department of State Health Services announced that some of the Texas cyclosporiasis cases have been linked to cilantro from Puebla, Mexico.

In all, 21 people have become sick after eating food that contains cilantro.

The FDA was able to trace the illnesses to cilantro that was served at four restaurants around the area.

Investigators say they could not find cilantro contaminated with cyclospora, but they said there’s a strong enough “epidemiological link” between the illnesses and the cilantro.

At this point, officials believe the outbreak is over but they still don’t know how the cilantro was contaminated.

“We don’t know if it happened on the farm, processing, somewhere in transit,” Russell Jones, the chief epidemiologist for the Tarrant County Health Department, told KXAS. “Cyclospora is usually found in contaminated water. Fecal contaminated water. And it’s a human parasite, so it normally doesn’t come from an animal, but a person. Maybe it’s irrigation water, water used from processing. Somewhere the product came in contact with contaminated water.”

State health officials say they are not releasing the names of the restaurants, saying it wasn’t their fault the cilantro was bad.