Georgia is one of nine states that has reported cases of an unidentified stomach bug that's making people sick. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is still investigating the cause but they've seen the symptoms before.
The flu-like symptoms found in more than 275 people have caused the Food and Drug Administration to look into the cyclospora infection. It has been linked to imported fresh produce in the past.
Lori Cooper, a local chef, said she is not stranger to foodborne illnesses. She suffered from food poisoning while on vacation.
"I was pretty sick for almost 24 hours and even the next day I was weak, dehydrated, and still had trouble keeping anything down even liquids," said Cooper. The cyclospora infection causes flu-like symptoms and diarrhea. People can be infected with the illness by ingesting foods or water contaminated with feces and it has been linked to imported fresh produce in the past.
Cooper said it is important to wash all fruits even if you do not consume the outside of them.
"You don't know who's come before you and touched it. What they've handled before," said Cooper. At the grocery store Cooper said always thoroughly look over fruit to make sure it doesn't have any abrasions. She says nicks or cuts can potentially lead to infections.
"Now everything can get into the produce as well," said Cooper. She gives general food safety tips as well. She says salmonella can be present on the outside of eggs.
"Once you crack it and if you accidentally drop the shell into the egg mixture you could potentially contaminate the whole mixture," said Cooper. Washing meat and cleaning kitchen surfaces can also keep you free from foodborne infections.
Most of the illnesses were reported between mid-June through early July. At least 18 people have been hospitalized in 3 of the states. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not know if all of the cases are a part of the same outbreak. They have confirmed 5 cases of cyclospora and are still investigating the rest.
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