Cyclospora infection

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel


What is cyclospora infection?

Cyclospora infection (cyclosporiasis) causes watery, and sometimes explosive, diarrhea. The one-celled parasite that causes cyclospora infection can enter your body when you ingest contaminated food or water. Fresh produce is the culprit in many cases of cyclospora infection.

Because diarrhea can be caused by many things, it can be difficult to diagnose cyclospora infection unless a specialized stool test is done. Treatment for cyclospora infection is antibiotics. Food safety precautions may help prevent the disease.

How common is cyclospora infection?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of cyclospora infection?

The common symptoms of cyclospora infection are:

  • Frequent, watery diarrhea
  • Bouts of diarrhea alternating with bouts of constipation
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Bloating, flatulence and burping
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue — this symptom may last long after the active infection has gotten better
  • General feeling of unwellness (malaise)

The diarrhea may end by itself within a few days, or it may last for weeks. If you have HIV or another condition that compromises your immune system, the infection can last for months if not treated.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes cyclospora infection?

Cyclospora is caught by consuming food – especially raw berries, herbs and salad items – or water contaminated with human faeces (poo) carrying theparasite.

The parasite lives in the poo. You can’t catch cyclospora by coming into contact with an infected person, such as someone who hasn’t washed their handsafter going to the toilet. Once in the poo, the parasite takes about 10days before becoming infectious.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for cyclospora infection?

In the past, people who traveled in developing countries were more likely to get cyclospora infection. These days, the infection is found worldwide, and anyone who ingests contaminated food or water can get it.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is cyclospora infection diagnosed?

Because there are so many possible causes of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, diagnosis of cyclospora infection requires a laboratory test to identify the parasite in your stool. There are no blood tests to diagnose a cyclospora infection.

How is cyclospora infection treated?

Treatment for cyclospora infection is a combination antibiotic known as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra). If you’re unable to take trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, your doctor may prescribe ciprofloxacin or nitazoxanide (Alinia).

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage cyclospora infection?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with cyclospora infection:

  • To prevent or treat mild to moderate fluid loss from the severe diarrhea associated with cyclospora infection, it’s generally adequate for healthy adults to drink water.
  • For children and infants, you may want to use an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte. Sports drinks and carbonated beverages don’t offer the right balance of nutrients that children need.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: September 28, 2017 | Last Modified: December 6, 2019

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