Some people infected with the microscopic parasite that causes cyclospora infection develop no signs or symptoms. For others, signs and symptoms — which usually begin within two to 11 days of eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water — may include:
- Watery diarrhea
- Frequent and sometimes explosive bowel movements
- Bouts of diarrhea alternating with bouts of constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle aches
- Low-grade fever
- General feeling of unwellness (malaise)
The diarrhea may end by itself within a few days, or it may become chronic, lasting for weeks. If you have HIV or another condition that compromises your immune system, the infection can last for months if not treated.
When to see a doctor
Many conditions can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal signs and symptoms. If you develop persistent diarrhea that lasts several days or recurs, contact your doctor so that he or she can identify the cause and recommend treatment. If you've eaten a food that's been recalled because of a cyclospora outbreak, be sure to tell your doctor.
If you experience dehydration due to diarrhea, see your doctor. Warning signs of dehydration include:
Sep. 24, 2011
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Reduced production of tears
- Decreased urine output
- Cyclosporiasis FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/cyclosporiasis/gen_info/faqs.html. Accessed Aug. 18, 2011.
- Weller PF, et al. Cyclospora infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 3, 2011.
- Suh KN, et al. Cyclospora cayetanensis, Isospora belli, Sarcocystis species, Balantidium coli, and Blastocystis hominis. In: Mandell GL, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/linkTo?type=bookPage&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..00280-0. Accessed Aug. 18, 2011.
- WGO practice guideline: Acute diarrhea. Munich, Germany: World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO). http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=12679. Accessed Aug. 18, 2011.
- Craig SA, et al. Gastroenteritis. In: Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/linkTo?type=bookPage&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..00092-X. Accessed Aug. 18, 2011.
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