The Dallas Morning News reported today that Dallas County health officials are hunting for the source of a potential Cyclosporiasis outbreak. Eight confirmed cases of foodborne illness have been attributed to Cyclospora cayetanensis, a protozoan that causes "frequent and sometimes explosive bowel movements," according to the Mayo Clinic.
Of course, those who are exposed to the critter won't show symptoms for about a week -- a fact that demonstrates the difficulty in tracking food-borne illnesses, since most people associate their symptoms with whatever they ate the night before. Imagine, your favorite burger chain takes the blame when it was really the contaminated raspberries you stole from the office fridge last week that have you doubled over. Most people can't remember what they ate two days ago.
Dallas County officials are involved in an ongoing investigation, but they'll have their work cut out for them. The only way to confirm an infection is through fecal analysis -- something most patients would rather avoid.