10 Foodborne Illnesses That Will Make You Wish You Were Dead

Fresh produce should absolutely be part of your diet, but fruits and vegetables sometimes harbor bacteria. © monticelllo/iStockphoto

Consuming fresh produce and plenty of water is normally part of a healthy diet. But even this undeniably good-for-you habit isn't without risk. Your favorite plant to eat could have bacteria hitching a ride. Love a fresh summer salad with a side of contamination? Fresh basil, lettuce and imported raspberries have all been associated with cyclospora outbreaks. In 2014, cyclospora-contaminated cilantro imported from Mexico caused 126 people to fall ill in Texas [source: Food Safety News]. In July 2015, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) had already accounted for 182 cyclospora infections in Texas alone [source: Waller].

Cyclospora is caused by a single-celled parasite, Cyclospora cayetanensis, which infects the small intestine. And that tiny little salad interloper is responsible for some major human misery: frequent watery, explosive diarrhea. While most cyclospora infections are self-limiting and clear without treatment within a few days to a few months, some may require treatment with sulfonamide antibiotics. Of course, rehydration is a key part of recovery.

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