Northern Virginia districts see jump in intestinal illnesses

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Health districts in northern Virginia are investigating a significant increase in the number of intestinal illnesses reported during the past month.

To date, there are 15 cyclosporiasis cases reported in the region, up from eight at this time last year. Additionally, more than 40 people from two large businesses in the area have reported gastrointestinal illness and are being investigated for suspected cyclosporiasis.

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness causes by a microscopic parasite. People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces or stool that contains the parasite.

Past U.S. foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce.

Health districts are working to identify the potential source of the outbreak. The Virginia Department of Health is also investigating.