Cyclospora cayetanensis

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a microscopic protozoan parasite that causes cyclosporiasis, a gastrointestinal illness characterized by prolonged and relapsing diarrhea. Primarily found in tropical and subtropical regions, it has been responsible for various foodborne outbreaks globally....

Cyclospora cayetanensis

What is Cyclospora cayetanensis?

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled parasite that infects the small intestine. It has a complex life cycle that requires time outside the host to become infectious. The disease it causes, cyclosporiasis, is notable for its potential to cause prolonged and relapsing symptoms, particularly affecting the gastrointestinal system.

What are the symptoms of Cyclospora cayetanensis?

  • Watery diarrhea, often with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Increased gas
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever

How is Cyclospora cayetanensis transmitted?

Cyclospora is transmitted through the ingestion of food or water contaminated with feces that contain the parasite. The oocysts need time (days to weeks) outside the host to become infectious. Common sources of outbreaks have included contaminated fresh produce such as berries, lettuce, and herbs. Direct person-to-person transmission is unlikely as the oocysts are not immediately infectious when shed in feces.

How to prevent Cyclospora cayetanensis?

  • Wash fresh produce thoroughly before eating, especially when in tropical or subtropical regions.
  • Be cautious of consuming raw fruits and vegetables in areas where cyclosporiasis is common.
  • Drink clean, filtered, or boiled water to avoid waterborne contamination.
  • Practice good hand hygiene, especially after using the bathroom and before handling food.

Test(s) that measure/test for Cyclospora cayetanensis

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