JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri health officials say they've been notified of two cases of intestinal illness from cyclospora.
The state Department of Health and Senior Services said Friday the reports came from health providers in Jackson County and southwest Missouri's Taney County.
The agency is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if Missouri's cases are linked to suspected outbreaks in several other states. The CDC says most of the reported illnesses occurred from mid-June to early July.
Missouri officials have not yet confirmed the source of the illnesses. Cyclospora infections are mostly found in tropical or subtropical countries and have been linked to imported fresh produce in past instances.
Health providers advise people with diarrhea, severe stomach cramps or nausea to seek medical attention.
The state Conservation Department says the disease was recently confirmed in a tri-colored bat and a little brown bat found in a public cave in Washington County.
A little brown bat and a northern long-eared bat, found in two separate public caves in Franklin County, also had white-nose syndrome.
White-nose syndrome does not infect people, pets or livestock but is estimated to have killed 5.5 million cave-dwelling bats nationwide since it first was detected in 2006.
It's caused by a fungus and spreads largely among bats and by human clothing and equipment in caves.
Signs of the disease or the fungus have now been confirmed in 19 bats, all in eastern Missouri, since 2010.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that two laboratories confirmed the presence of the fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.
The disease was found in bats from four counties: LaSalle in north-central Illinois, Monroe in southwestern Illinois and Hardin and Pope in the far southern part of the state.
Researchers are especially concerned about the disease because bats play a crucial role in the environment.
In particular, they devour agricultural pests, saving that industry billions of dollars a year.
There is no known way to prevent the disease, which has now been detected in 20 states, most of them in the eastern U.S.
It affects seven hibernating bat species.