KYE-uh-tuh-NEN-sis) is a parasite composed of one cell, too small
to be seen without a microscope. The first known human cases of
illness caused by Cyclospora infection (i.e., cyclosporiasis) were
reported in 1979. Cases began being reported more often in the
mid-1980s. In the last several years, outbreaks of cyclosporiasis
have been reported in the United States and Canada.
Cyclospora is spread by people ingesting something, for example,
water or food that was contaminated with infected stool. For
example, outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various
types of fresh produce. Cyclospora needs time (days or weeks) after
being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious. Therefore,
it is unlikely that Cyclospora is passed directly from one person
to another. It is unknown whether animals can be infected and pass
infection to people.
People of all ages are at risk for infection. In the past,
Cyclospora infection was usually found in people who lived or
traveled in developing countries. However, people can be infected
worldwide, including the United States.
Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually
causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel
movements. Other symptoms can include loss of appetite, substantial
loss of weight, bloating, increased gas, stomach cramps, nausea,
vomiting, muscle aches, low-grade fever, and fatigue. Some people
who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms.
The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually
about 1 week. If not treated, the illness may last from a few days
to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return
one or more times (relapse).
Your health care provider will ask you to submit stool specimens
to see if you are infected. Because testing for Cyclospora
infection can be difficult, you may be asked to submit several
stool specimens over several days. Identification of this parasite
in stool requires special laboratory tests that are not routinely
done. Therefore, your health care provider should specifically
request testing for Cyclospora. Your health care provider may have
your stool checked for other organisms that can cause similar
The recommended treatment for infection with Cyclospora is a
combination of two antibiotics, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, also
known as Bactrim*, Septra*, or Cotrim*. People who have diarrhea
should rest and drink plenty of fluids.
No alternative drugs have been identified yet for people who are
unable to take sulfa drugs. See your health care provider for other
Avoiding water or food that may be contaminated with stool may
help prevent Cyclospora infection. People who have previously been
infected with Cyclospora can become infected again.
Centers for Disease Control and
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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