About Cyclosporiasis

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by a parasite. People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite. People living or traveling in countries where cyclosporiasis is endemic may be at increased risk for infection.

The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about 1 week. Cyclosporiasis infects the small intestine and usually causes diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and bloating. Other common symptoms include:

  • Stomach cramps

    Stomach cramps

  • Nausea


  • Fatigue


Treatment for cyclosporiasis is available. If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may go away and then return one or more times. It is common to feel very tired.

Cyclosporiasis infection is diagnosed by examining stool specimens. Diagnosis can be difficult because even patients who are symptomatic might not shed enough of the parasite in their stool to be detectable by lab examinations. Identification of the parasite requires special tests that are not usually done when stool is tested for parasites. Therefore, if indicated, healthcare providers should specifically request testing for cyclosporiasis.

Risk Factors

People become infected with cyclosporiasis when they consume food or water contaminated with feces. An infected person in turn sheds the parasite in their feces. The parasite then needs at least 1-2 weeks in favorable conditions to become infective. Because of this, person-to-person transmission is unlikely.

Cyclosporiasis occurs in many countries, but is most common in tropical regions. In areas where cyclosporiasis has been studied, the risk of infection is seasonal. In the United States, foodborne outbreaks have been linked to various imported fresh produce. U.S. cases of infection have also occurred in people who traveled to cyclosporiasis-endemic areas.

Prevention and Control

Avoiding food or water that may have been contaminated with feces is the best way to prevent cyclosporiasis. Travelers to cyclosporiasis-endemic areas should be aware that treatment of water or food by routine chemical disinfection is unlikely to kill the parasite. Follow safe fruit and vegetable handling recommendations:

  • Wash: Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after handling fruits and vegetables. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with soap and hot water.
  • Prepare: Wash all fruits and vegetables under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Scrub firm fruits and vegetables, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.
  • Store: Refrigerate cut, peeled, or cooked fruits and vegetables as soon as possible, or within 2 hours. Store fruits and vegetables away from raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Resources

  • US CDC: Cyclosporiasis
  • Resources for Healthcare Providers
  • Fruit and Vegetable Safety
  • Coming Soon: Cyclosporiasis Fact Sheet (PDF)