What is cyclosporiasis and how is is spread?
It is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite. People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces (stool) that contains the parasite. Cyclospora bacteria is not spread directly from one person to another. In the United States, foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, including raspberries, basil, snow peas, and mesclun lettuce; no commercially frozen or canned produce has been implicated.
What are the symptoms of cyclosporiasis, and when do they begin and end?
They usually begin about 1 week after exposure. If the infection is not treated, symptoms can last for several weeks to a month or more.
Symptoms may include the following:
- Frequent bouts of watery diarrhea (the most common symptom)
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Cramping, bloating, and/or increased gas
- Nausea (vomiting is less common)
- Low-grade fever
What should I do if I think I might have cyclosporiasis?
Righttime Medical Care can test you to see if you have cyclosporiasis and treat the infection.
How is cyclosporiasis diagnosed?
Identifying Cyclospora requires special lab tests of stool samples, which Righttime will specifically request based on your symptoms.
How is cyclosporiasis treated in people with symptoms?
It usually is treated with the antibiotic trimethoprimsulfamethoxazole (also known as Bactrim®, Septra®, or Cotrim®). People with diarrhea also should rest and drink plenty of fluids.
What can I do to prevent cyclosporiasis?
The key is to avoid food or water that may have been contaminated. Keep these tips in mind when purchasing fresh produce:
Always clean produce under running water, brushing with a scrub brush and, if applicable, peeling the produce
Don’t waste money on commercial fruit cleaners, which are mostly just vinegar and water
Cut away damaged or bruised areas
Quickly refrigerate cut, peeled or cooked fruits
Fruits and vegetables that are labeled “prewashed” do not need to be washed again at home
When traveling, follow safe food and water habits. For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov/ parasites/cyclosporiasis.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)