Microscopic parasite spreads to Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Four cases of a gastrointestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite have been reported in Wisconsin by state health officials. The parasite, called Cyclospora, has affected the health of approximately 200 individuals in multiple states, including Iowa, Nebraska and Texas.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, people generally become infected with the parasite through the consumption of food or water contaminated with Cyclospora. Symptoms include: watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, extreme fatigue, bloating and fever.

State Health Officer Henry Anderson said the parasite can incite a prolonged illness and urged people to visit their doctor if they experience these symptoms for more than two days.

Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services noted that affected individuals may have relapsing symptoms that can last for weeks to months. Symptoms are typically noticeable approximately seven days after an individual acquires the infection. However, the incubation period can be anywhere between two to 14 days.

Individuals affected live in Milwaukee, Brown and Grant counties. Only five cases of cyclosporiasis were reported from 2008 to 2012.