SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — State officials are investigating a possible link between a gastrointestinal illness outbreak and a South Haven restaurant.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed at least eight cases of cyclosporiasis since late June, with at least another 14 possible cases identified.
MDHHS says those sickened reported dining in southwest Michigan before feeling ill. The state says its early investigation suggests those sickened had contact with food from Taste restaurant, located at 402 Phoenix Street, but other businesses may be identified as the investigation continues.
Health officials say Taste is fully cooperating with the investigation and there is no indication that the outbreak is related to poor food handling or preparation at the restaurant. State officials say food is often contaminated with cyclospora before it arrives at a restaurant and it’s not easily removed by standard rinsing.
Cyclosporiasis is caused by a microscopic parasite often linked to contaminated fresh produce. People become infected by eating contaminated food or drinking tainted water. The symptoms of cyclosporiasis generally emerge a week or two after exposure and include watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea and fatigue.
If untreated, those sickened by cyclosporiasis can suffer from symptoms off and on for weeks, but the infection is usually not life-threatening. Anyone who suspects they may have been sickened by cyclosporiasis is encouraged to contact their doctor to be treated with antibiotics.
MDHHS says it’s working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department to interview those sickened. Health care providers are asked to promptly report cases to MDHHS or a local health department so they can pinpoint the cause.