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Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigators admit they failed to get a handle on a serious Cyclosporiasis outbreak that has now affected 609 people in 22 states.
Elevated concern, awareness
The latest unofficial word from CDC is they simply do not know for certain whether they are dealing with one big outbreak or several smaller outbreaks. They report they have collected medical information on 448 of the confirmed cases so far and have discovered about 8 percent of those (37 individuals) have required hospitalization. No fatalities had been reported as of Aug. 23.
Texas leads the nation with the greatest number of confirmed cases, 257 as of Friday (Aug. 23). Following were Iowa with 156 confirmed cases, Nebraska with 86 cases, Florida with 31 cases, Wisconsin (16), Illinois (11), and Arkansas (10). There were 15 additional states that reported one or more cases in July-August (22 total).
Most of the illness onset dates have ranged from mid-June through mid-July, but just over 250 cases have been added to the count so far during August.
In a time when both government officials and U.S. consumers are concerned about food safety, especially since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there has been a great deal more awareness and concern over potential risks associated with food issues, like what potentially can transpire from the time food leaves the field on the farm and begins a long trek to first a processing, packaging and shipping facility(s), and eventually to grocery aisles and consumer's kitchens. Heightened concerns over food safety in public restaurants and eateries have also made headlines and blogs in recent times.
In light of the current and evasive Cyclosporiasis outbreak and the 2011 listeria outbreak that originated on a Colorado melon farm, one of the worst food poisoning outbreaks in U.S. history, government leaders, national security experts, and medical researchers have been trying to get a handle on how to keep America's food safe. While investigators work through more cases and clues about the mysterious Cyclosporiasus illness, another group has been working diligently to provide a new level of safety for the average American.