Cyclospora

Background

Cyclosporiasis is a diarrhoeal disease due to the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. Infection is spread by eating contaminated food and drinking drinks. Raw fruit and vegetables imported from or eaten in countries where the parasite is common are associated with infection:

  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • lettuce
  • salad herbs

Cyclospora most often occurs in tropical and subtropical regions of the world including:

  • South America
  • Central America
  • South Asia
  • South East Asia
  • Middle East
  • Africa

Most recently UK travellers to Mexico have been affected.

Symptoms usually start one to seven days after the parasite is ingested. Infection causes watery diarrhoea that can last for days to weeks, and recur. Tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach cramps, mild fever and weight loss may also occur. Infection can be more serious in those with a compromised immune system.

Information about the symptoms and managing gastroenteritis is available on the NHS Inform website.

Guidance

  • Information for travellers on cyclospora is available on fitfortravel.
  • An advice sheet for travellers is available on TRAVAX.
  • The chance of infection can be reduced during travel by following advice on food and water precautions available on fitortravel.

Data and surveillance

Travel-associated outbreaks