Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope. This parasite causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis. Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. Symptoms include watery diarrhea with GI and systemic symptoms. Cyclospora species are variably acid-fast, round-to-ovoid organisms that measure 8-10 µm in diameter. Cyclospora species exogenously sporulate and have 2 sporocysts per oocyst. Transmission follows ingestion of oocysts in fecally contaminated water or produce.
People who have diarrhea should also rest and drink plenty of fluids. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX), sold under the trade names Bactrim*, Septra*, and Cotrim*, is the usual therapy for Cyclospora infection. No highly effective alternative antibiotic regimen has been identified yet for patients who do not respond to the standard treatment or have a sulfa allergy. Most people who have healthy immune systems will recover without treatment. If not treated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse). Anti-diarrheal medicine may help reduce diarrhea, but a health care provider should be consulted before such medicine is taken. People who are in poor health or who have weakened immune systems may be at higher risk for severe or prolonged illness.
Federal health officials have joined with officials in 13 states to investigate a spike in Cyclospora illnesses, with 125 confirmed or probable cases reported and no specific food item implicated so far, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. Texas health officials have been investigating a recent surge of infections, and an outbreak investigation is underway in Maine, with Massachusetts also probing an increase in lab-confirmed cyclosporiasis cases.
Eight percent (8%) of ill persons were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported. Ill persons ranged in age from less than 1 year to 94 years, with a median age of 52 years.