Cyclospora Infection (Cyclosporiasis) (cont.)
Sandra Gonzalez Gompf, MD, FACP
Sandra Gonzalez Gompf, MD, FACP is a U.S. board-certified Infectious Disease subspecialist. Dr. Gompf received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami, and a Medical Degree from the University of South Florida. Dr. Gompf completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida followed by subspecialty fellowship training there in Infectious Diseases under the directorship of Dr. John T. Sinnott, IV.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Cyclospora infection (cyclosporiasis) facts
- What is a Cyclospora infection?
- What causes a Cyclospora infection?
- What are the risk factors for a Cyclospora infection?
- Is Cyclospora contagious? What is the contagious period for Cyclospora?
- What are the symptoms of a Cyclospora infection?
- What is the incubation period for a Cyclospora infection?
- What types of specialists treat Cyclospora infections?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose a Cyclospora infection?
- What is the treatment for Cyclospora infections?
- What are complications of a Cyclospora infection?
- What is the prognosis of a Cyclospora infection?
- Is it possible to prevent Cyclospora infections?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
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.
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