Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Cyclospora is a small parasitic organism that is passed to humans when they ingest food contaminated with feces from an infected person.
It is most common in tropical countries, and imported foods such as lettuce have caused outbreaks in the United States. Travelers to tropical or subtropical countries are at risk, although the risk is relatively low.
Diarrhea is the most common symptom, often accompanied by cramping abdominal pain and fatigue. If left untreated, the diarrhea can last for several weeks.
Complications are uncommon, but it is important for patients to drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.
Prevention efforts are focused on improving the safety of the food supply. Because Cyclospora requires a period of time outside the body to become infectious, the organism is not spread directly from person to person.
What is Cyclospora infection?
Infection occurs when humans inadvertently
ingest Cyclospora, usually by eating food contaminated with very small amounts
of feces (stool) from an infected person.
Outbreaks of illness in the United States causing infectious watery diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting recently have been found to be caused by a parasite called Cyclospora. Food-borne outbreaks of the illness have been reported in the U.S. since the mid-1990s.