ST. PAUL, Minn. – Fresh basil is being blamed for a multi-state outbreak of food-related sickness that included a Rochester restaurant.
The Minnesota Department of Health says it has 35 lab-confirmed cases of cyclospora traced back to three sources:
- 26 cases from City Market in Rochester.
- 4 cases from Outback Steakhouse in Hermantown.
- 5 cases from meals catered by Duluth Grill at a conference in Duluth.
The Department of Health is emphasizing that these illnesses have nothing to do with the actions of the restaurants or their employees. Instead, they are the result of a food product that was contaminated before it got to the restaurants.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say Minnesota is part of a multi-state outbreak of cyclospora linked to fresh basil exported by a Mexican company, Siga Logistics de RL de CV. Federal officials say there have been 132 cases connected to exposures in Minnesota, Florida, New York, and Ohio, with four hospitalizations and no deaths reported.
The contaminated basil is being recalled and the FDA says it has increased export screening. They are recommending fresh imported basil not be sold or served unless it is certain it is not connected to this outbreak.
The Mayo Clinic says cyclospora infections can develop within 2 to 11 days of consuming contaminated food or water. Symptoms include:
- Frequent, watery diarrhea
- Bouts of diarrhea alternating with bouts of constipation
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Bloating, flatulence and burping
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches
- Fatigue — this symptom may last long after the active infection has gotten better
- General feeling of unwellness (malaise)