Cyclosporiasis (Keep an eye out)!

There has been an increase in cyclosporiasis in the United States.  Let’s briefly discuss what cyclosporiasis is, how to diagnose, and the treatment.  According to the CDC, Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. People can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite.

Here in the US, foodborne illnesses can be traced to imports fresh produce.  This includes but is not limited to basil, raspberries, mesclun lettuce and snow peas. (Credit: USDA)

This infection can cause great intestinal discomfort!


Per the CDC, the symptoms associated with cyclosporiasis are listed below:

  1. Watery Diarrhea
  2. Gas
  3. Bloating
  4. Nausea
  5. Fatigue
  6. Weight Loss
  7. Gas

Less common symptoms include low grade fever and vomiting.


As such, Practitioners should be aware of these symptoms when patients present.

Further, Practitioners are strongly encouraged to take a stool sample when a patient presents with these symptoms.  When submitting the request for testing, be sure to indicate to test for cyclospora to rule it out.  Further, the CDC indicates the disease may not be detected and samples may need to be taken on different days as it can be difficult to detect.


The typical treatment for a cyclospora infection is Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX).  Bactrim*, Septra*, and Cotrim* are the Trade names with the ingredients for treatment per the CDC.

Though people with healthy immune systems may be able to recover without treatment, others may not be so fortunate.

The CDC indicated that cyclosporiasis outbreaks are rising so please remember to educate patients to be sure to use clean eating techniques.  This includes clean hands and washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.

If you wish to learn more about cyclosporiasis, please feel free to visit the CDC website.