Cyclospora cayetanensis (SIGH-clo-SPORE-uh KYE-uh-tuh-NEN-sis) is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be
seen without a microscope. The first known human cases of illness caused by Cyclospora infection (that is,
cyclosporiasis) were reported in 1979. Cases began being reported more often in the mid-1980s. In the last several
years, outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been reported in the United States and Canada.
Cyclospora is spread by people ingesting something, for example, water or food that was contaminated with infected
stool. For example, outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of fresh produce. Cyclospora needs
time (days or weeks) after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious. Therefore, it is unlikely that
Cyclospora is passed directly from one person to another. It is not known whether or not animals can be infected and
pass infection to people.
Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive,
bowel movements. Other symptoms can include loss of appetite, substantial loss of weight, bloating, increased gas,
stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, low-grade fever, and fatigue. Some people who are infected with
Cyclospora do not have any symptoms.