Georgia among states with unidentified stomach bug

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ATLANTA - More than 250 people in at least six states, including Georgia, have come down with a stomach bug that could be linked to foodborne illness.

The Centers for Disease Control says the cyclospora infection causing diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms has been reported in Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia and Connecticut. The CDC says 10 people have been hospitalized and most of the reported illnesses occurred from mid-June to early July.

“Lots and lots of watery diarrhea. You occasionally will have some fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, but those are less common,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Robin Dretler told Channel 2’s Diana Davis.

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating the cyclospora infections, which are most often found in tropical or subtropical countries and have been linked to imported fresh produce in the past.

“The past really big one was Guatemalan raspberries, because the birds carrying cyclospora would eat the raspberries, poop on the other raspberries and then we would ship them here,” Dretler said.

The illness is usually spread when people ingest food or water contaminated with feces. The FDA said it isn't yet clear whether the cases from all the states are linked.

For most healthy people, the illness is not serious.

“If you have any underlying significant illness diabetes or anything on that level or more, you can get much sicker so you need to see a physician certainly if the diarrhea does not go away for a couple of days or you start having higher fevers. It's very dangerous for someone who has HIV,” Dretler said.