City of Portsmouth, Health Department, 1 Junkins Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801. Tel: (603) 610-7273

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Practice safe food handling and preparation methods

In light of the recent foodborne illness outbreaks causing gastrointestinal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora, the Portsmouth Health Department would like to remind City residents of the importance of practicing safe food handling and preparation methods. Wash hands, utensils and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. Fresh produce should be washed thoroughly before it is eaten to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a rare microscopic parasite that causes an intestinal infection called Cyclosporiasis. Although the source of the recent infections is not yet known, Cyclospora is spread by people consuming something - such as food or water - that was contaminated with the parasite. Fresh vegetables or fruits are often linked to Cyclospora outbreaks. Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include watery diarrhea (the most common sign), abdominal cramps, nausea, extreme fatigue, bloating, and occasionally fever. People typically become sick approximately seven days after they acquire the infection, but that incubation period can range from two to 14 days.

No cases of Cyclosporiasis have been identified in New Hampshire at this time.

For more information about Cyclospora: