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Health officials investigating gastrointestinal illness outbreak in southwest Michigan

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

State and local health officials are investigating multiple cases of a gastrointestinal illness in southwest Michigan. caused by a microscopic parasite in southwest . 

Cyclosporiasis is caused by a microscopic parasite. People infected suffer from diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea and fatigue. Patients may have symptoms lasting from a few days to a few weeks.   

Most outbreaks in the U.S. are tied to contaminated fresh produce.

There have been eight lab-confirmed Cyclosporiasis cases with illness onset dates since late June, with another 14 cases under investigation.

Preliminary information suggests an exposure to food products prepared at or distributed by Taste restaurant in South Haven. There is no indication that the illnesses are related to poor food handling or preparation at this establishment. Taste restaurant is fully cooperating with the investigation. 

"We are working diligently with the restaurant, MDARD, and our local health department colleagues to investigate these cases," says Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health at MDHHS. "We are asking that anyone who has symptoms like watery diarrhea and stomach cramps and recently ate at the restaurant contact their doctor because this illness can be effectively treated with antibiotics."

State and local investigators are reviewing food histories and invoices from suppliers to the restaurant to identify specific food products that may have caused the illnesses and determine the extent to which those products may have been distributed in Michigan. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.