What is cyclosporiasis?

Cyclosporiasis is a parasitic infection in the intestines that can cause symptoms such as watery diarrhea and stomach pain.

Cyclosporiasis is most common in tropical or subtropical areas and regions of poor sanitation. The most commonly involved areas for United States citizens are Mexico, Peru and Guatemala. Most cases of this form of food poisoning develop in people who have traveled to these areas or eaten produce imported from these countries.

How common is cyclosporiasis?

Cyclosporiasis occurs in an estimated 15,000 people in the United States each year.

What causes cyclosporiasis?

Cyclosporiasis is caused by eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated with the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. Symptoms begin about 7 days after the contaminated food has been consumed. The parasite is in the feces (stool) of people who have been infected; however, it is not spread directly from one person to another by contact.

What are the symptoms of cyclosporiasis?

When symptoms of cyclosporiasis occur, they include:

  • Watery or explosive diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating and gas
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea and stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

In some cases, people with Cyclospora infection do not have any symptoms.

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