Health officials warn popular Mexican food garnish could make you sick

Health officials warn popular Mexican...

EL PASO, Texas - A parasite known to cling on food you may eat often could make you very ill, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services 

The cyclospora parasite is often found on fresh produce, including fresh pre-packaged salads, raspberries, basil, snow peas and leafy greens. 

Many of the previous cases in Texas have been linked to cilantro, a common garnish found in Mexican and Asian food. 

Consuming contaminated food or water causes an intestinal illness. 

The main symptom is watery diarrhea lasting a few days to a few months. It can also cause loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and a low fever.

DSHS spokesman Chris Van Deusen said no cases have been reported in El Paso, but there is still cause for concern. 

"Fresh produce in El Paso comes from the same places as it does in Texas," said Van Deusen. "It's really imported produce that has been the issue in years past, and, of course, there's really no difference in the produce coming to El Paso as the rest of the state."

In the past two months, the Texas Department of State Health Services said cyclospora is linked to a spike in illness across Texas with 68 cases. 

Last year, in total, there were 148 cases. 

DSHS urges those who show symptoms seek treatment, and antibiotics from their doctor. 

It hopes it will help pinpoint the cause of the illnesses.  


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