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What is cyclosporiasis (Cyclospora infection)?

Cyclosporiasis (sigh-clo-spore-EYE-uh-sis) is a diarrheal disease caused by an intestinal infection with the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis.

How do people get cyclosporiasis?

Cyclospora parasites are passed in the feces of infected people. Other people become infected by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the feces from an infected person. Cyclospora passed in feces take days to weeks in the environment to become infectious to another person. Therefore, it is unlikely that the infection is passed directly from person to person.

Where does cyclosporiasis occur?

Cyclosporiasis occurs in many countries but it is most common in tropical and subtropical regions. In the United States, foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of fresh produce imported from Latin America, including raspberries, cilantro, basil, snow peas, and mixed salad.

What are the symptoms of cyclosporiasis?

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis usually begin one to two weeks after being infected. The symptoms may include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Increased gas
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Vomiting and low-grade fever may also occur. If not treated, the symptoms may last from several days to several weeks. Some symptoms, such as diarrhea, may seem to go away and then return (relapse). Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms. 

How is cyclosporiasis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider may ask you to submit one or more samples of your feces to see if you are infected with Cyclospora. In addition, your healthcare provider may have your feces checked for other organisms that can cause similar symptoms.

How is cyclosporiasis treated?

Cyclosporiasis can be treated with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic that is effective against Cyclospora parasites. Diarrhea can cause dehydration so it is important to drink plenty of fluids.

What can a person do to prevent cyclosporiasis?

Avoid food or water that may be contaminated with human feces. When traveling, follow safe food and water habits. People who have previously been infected with Cyclospora can become infected again.

What is public health doing about cyclosporiasis?

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and local health departments monitor cases of cyclosporiasis in California. Health care providers and clinical laboratories are required to report cases of cyclosporiasis to their local health department.
If many cases occur at the same time, it may suggest an outbreak requiring a public health investigation. CDPH can assist local health departments to investigate outbreaks of illness, find and control the source(s) of contamination, and provide education.

Where can I get more information on cyclosporiasis?

You can get more information on cyclosporiasis from your healthcare provider, your local health department, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cyclosporiasis website
November 2015 ​
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