According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. People can become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite.
A person is most infectious when they have diarrhoea, but the parasite may be excreted for several days after symptoms disappear
The time between becoming infected by the parasite (known as the onset) and becoming sick is usually about one week. The Cyclospora parasites infect the small intestine, usually causing watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Although some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms, other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may also be evident.
With flu season on us in Australia, it is worth being aware that the flu may not in fact be the flu, it may be some other condition like Cyclosporiasis.
The symptoms may last for up to two weeks but there may be sporadic symptoms for a month.
The parasite is killed by heat but iodine and chlorine do not kill it, so water treated with these will not be safe from Cyclospora.
It is a requirement in Australia that once identified as Cyclosporiasis the case must be reported to the Health Department by the testing Laboratory.
Sulphur based antibiotics can be used to treat a Cyclospora case.