Slideshows Images Quizzes
font size

Cyclospora Infection (Cyclosporiasis) (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What are the symptoms of a Cyclospora infection?

Cyclospora causes watery diarrhea that lasts more than a week, up to four weeks or more. Cramping and fatigue are common. The infected person may have five to 15 bowel movements per day. Also common are fevers, belly pain, heartburn, nausea, increased gas, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Symptoms are worse in those with weak immune systems, such as people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

What is the incubation period for a Cyclospora infection?

The incubation period (the time between swallowing the oocysts and the start of symptoms) is two to 14 days, or an average of 10 days.

What types of specialists treat Cyclospora infections?

Most people with persistent diarrhea will probably be evaluated first by a primary-care provider, such as an internist, pediatrician, family medicine doctor, or nurse practitioner. As diarrhea continues beyond a couple of weeks, referrals may be made to a gastroenterologist or an infectious-disease doctor for further evaluation and treatment.

How do health-care professionals diagnose a Cyclospora infection?

Most cases of diarrhea are caused by viruses or bacteria that produce a short period of illness and resolve without specific treatment. Most people are not sick long enough to go to the doctor and have tests performed. If a person has diarrhea that is persisting beyond a week or so, there are a number of possible causes. Food, travel, and antibiotic exposures should be discussed with a doctor, who may order stool studies. Cyclospora is diagnosed by examining the stool under a microscope and finding oocysts. Even with a lot of diarrhea, oocysts may be hard to find, because oocysts are not shed continuously. At least three stool samples should be collected 24-48 hours apart. To increase the ability to diagnose Cyclospora, special staining methods, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, and stool specimen concentration techniques are used. Physicians must alert the laboratory to look for Cyclospora if ordering stool studies, because these tests are not routine. There is no blood test that can detect Cyclospora.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/23/2016


Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors