The Virginia Department of Health has identified three workplace cafeterias in Northern Virginia and Richmond in connection with the recent outbreak of cyclosporiasis, a food-borne intestinal illness. 

There have been 39 confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in Virginia since May 1, with 27 of them occurring in Northern Virginia.

In contrast, the five-year average for the same time frame from 2014 to 2018 was nine cases.

The Virginia Department of Health released a statement on Thursday, which identifies workplace cafeterias in the following locations as being part of the ongoing investigation:

  • Capital One Building at 1600 Capital One Drive, McLean, VA 22102
  • Valo Park Building at 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22102
  • CarMax at 12800 Tuckahoe Creek Parkway, Richmond, VA 23238

These cafeterias are not widely accessible to the public and the VDH says that health officials are working directly with business owners and affected individuals. 

While a specific source of the outbreak has not yet been identified, VDH officials continue to investigate.

Cyclosporiasis, which typically occurs in tropical or subtropical areas, is caused by consuming food or water contaminated with feces or stool. Past foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been connected to various kinds of imported fresh produce, such as raspberries, basil, arugula, snow peas, mesclun lettuce, and cilantro.

Common symptoms of cyclosporiasis include diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal cramping or bloating, nausea and prolonged fatigue. In some cases, vomiting, low-grade fever and other flu-like symptoms may be experienced. If untreated, the illness can last anywhere from a few days to over a month, and while the illness may seem to go away, it can come back again, the VDH says.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of cyclosporiasis should visit their healthcare provider, and to prevent the spread of cyclosporiasis, individuals are advised to wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly, and also wash their hands with soap and warm water before and after handling the produce.