Cyclospora Parasite (cont.)

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The time between becoming infected and developing symptoms is usually several days to a week, but some cases may take as long as two weeks to develop. If not treated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer. It may also return one or more times.

What should you do if you think you may be infected with Cyclospora?

If you think you may be infected with Cyclospora, you should consult your physician. Identification of this parasite in stool requires special laboratory tests that are not routinely used in most U.S. hospitals. Therefore, your physician should specifically request testing for Cyclospora and send stool samples to specialized laboratories. More than one stool sample may be needed. Your physician may also want to have your stool checked for other infectious organisms that can cause similar symptoms.

How is Cyclospora infection treated?

Infection with Cyclospora is treated with antibiotics. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, also known as Bactrim, Septra, or Cotrim (a combination of two antibiotics), is recommended. Infected people with diarrhea should rest and drink plenty of fluids. They should seek their physician's advice before taking medicine to slow their diarrhea.

How is Cyclospora infection prevented?

Cyclospora infection can be prevented by avoiding water or food, especially imported fruits and vegetables that may have been exposed to human feces. People who have previously been infected with Cyclospora can become infected again. There is no vaccine available to prevent Cyclospora infections.


Chiodini, P.L. "A 'New' Parasite: Human Infection With Cyclospora cayetanensis." Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 88 (1994); 369-371.

Huang, P., et al. "The First Reported Outbreak of Diarrheal Illness Associated With Cyclospora in the United States." Ann Intern Med 123 (1995): 409-414.

Ortega, Y.R., et al. "Cyclospora Species - A New Protozoan Pathogen of Humans." N Engl J Med 328 (1993): 1308-1312.

United States. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "Parasites - Cyclosporiasis (Cyclospora Infection)." Jan. 10, 2013. <>.

Last Editorial Review: 7/26/2013